Opexa Shares Soar on Multiple Sclerosis Trial Data

brainscanThere is no cure for multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease that effects an estimated 2.5 million people worldwide. However, a new treatment from Opexa Therapeutics is showing the potential to prevent MS symptoms from returning. Opexa Therapeutics announced that 83 percent of clinical trial patients taking its therapeutic vaccine Tovaxin remained relapse-free for a year. The Phase IIb trial involved 150 patients with relapse-remitting MS. Nearly three-quarters of the patients taking Tovaxin showed stabilization or improvement of symptoms. They also showed a reduction in brain atrophy, implying that Tovaxin may have neuroprotective effects.

Tovaxin is a personalized vaccine that uses the patient’s own T-cells to battle the disease. MS attacks the central nervous system, causing a host of symptoms that vary from patient to patient–fatigue, numbness and tingling, slurred speech, balance and coordination problems, or tremors. While death from MS is rare, the unpleasant nature of the symptoms can severely degrade patients’ quality of life.  

Shares in the Woodlands, Texas-based company tripled following the announcement. Opexa experienced a bump in its stock earlier this year when it cut a deal to sell its preclinical stem cell technology to Novartis.

Additional companies developing treatments for MS include Bayhill Therapeutics, Acorda Therapeutics, ReceptoPharm, Peptimmune, and Androclus Therapeutics.

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