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Tovaxin® (T cell vaccination) granted fast-track designation by FDA

November 29, 2011

The company Opexa Therapeutics (The Woodlands, TX) announced that the experimental therapy Tovaxin® has been designated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a “Fast Track Product” for the treatment of secondary-progressive MS. Tovaxin is a personalized vaccine that aims to induce immunity against T cells that attack the brain and spinal cord in MS. It uses a person’s own immune cells, which are removed, manipulated, and then reintroduced by under the skin injections. The Fast Track designation may expedite its future review by the FDA after the company submits results of future phase III trials. The company is planning to begin a Phase IIb clinical trial of Tovaxin in secondary-progressive MS “subject to securing the necessary resources,” according to a November 8, 2011 press release.

Results so far: A one-year, multi-center trial of Tovaxin was conducted in 140 people with relapsing-remitting MS and 10 people who had experienced a neurological episode that put them at possible risk for being diagnosed with MS. The TERMS study found Tovaxin to be safe, but did not achieve statistical significance in the primary endpoint evaluating the cumulative number of active MRI lesions in those on active therapy versus those on placebo (Multiple Sclerosis, published online November 6). Analyzing a subset of participants after the study, investigators found that Tovaxin stabilized or reduced disability as measured by the EDSS scale, and the average number of relapses in a year.

Tovaxin is a trademark of Opexa Pharmaceutics.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


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