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Biogen says MS drug reduces relapse rates in study

WESTON, Mass. (AP) -- Biogen Idec said a potential multiple sclerosis treatment designed to last longer between injections fared well in late-stage research, and the drug developer plans to submit it to U.S. and European regulators for possible approval this year.

The Weston, Mass., company said it tested doses of the drug, labeled peginterferon beta-1a, delivered at two-week or four-week intervals in patients with a form of multiple sclerosis that cycles between stages of relapse and remission.

A total of 35.6 percent of the patients who had injections every two weeks saw a significant reduction in annual relapse rates, while 27.5 percent of patients taking the treatment every four weeks saw significant reductions.

A company spokeswoman said the potential drug's effectiveness was comparable to current treatments that require patients to take daily doses or injections several times a week.

More than 1,500 patients were involved in the trial. Biogen will present study data in March at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting.

Shares of Biogen climbed $2.17 to $145.72 in Thursday afternoon trading while the Nasdaq exchange fell slightly.