In early October, global biopharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb announced the Canadian approval of ZEPOSIA (ozanimod) for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). In particular, the drug is designed to treat patients whose condition is relapsing-remitting as opposed to progressive. While patients with progressive MS experience continued, progressive worsening, those with the relapsing-remitting form experience periods of intense symptoms punctuated with periods of remission.
In terms of this medication, ZEPOSIA is an orally-administered sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulator. According to an article published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, S1P is considered a:
sphingosine-based [lipid which acts as an] important regulator of brain homeostasis.
In simpler terms, S1P plays a role in the equilibrium of different brain elements. However, overactive sphingoids can play a role in neuronal diseases, making them an attractive target for drug developers. In this case, ZEPOSIA binds to S1P receptors 1 and 5. This prevents the white blood cells, which play a role in neuroinflammation, from reaching and damaging the myelin.
The recent approval is based on data from the Phase 3 SUNBEAM and Phase 3 RADIANCE Part B studies. In the SUBBEAM trial, which enrolled 1,346 participants, researchers analyzed the safety, efficacy, and tolerability of ZEPOSIA. Additionally, researchers compared it to AVONEX, an anti-inflammatory treatment given intramuscularly to treat multiple sclerosis. The RADIANCE Part B trial, which enrolled 1,313 participants, researchers also compared ZEPOSIA to AVONEX over 2 years.
From the studies, researchers determined that ZEPOSIA significantly reduced the amount of brain lesions caused by multiple sclerosis, and also reduced the amount of symptoms and relapses. Generally, the improvement was also significant compared to AVONEX.