Drs Okai and Obeidat share their excitement about an emerging new drug class for the treatment of MS.
Ahmed Zayed Obeidat, MD, PhD: You touched on some exciting emerging therapies in the pipeline. Since you do trials, what’s exciting? What's coming up, and what are you most excited about?
Annette Okai, MD, FAAN: Well, the closest I will say that we have coming up right now is a new compound with a different mechanism of action. These compounds that are in late phase 3, so the last phase before it goes to the FDA to be approved, actually show that they are able to penetrate the central nervous system, or the brain-blood barrier where the damage is occurring. Those are called BTKIs [Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitors]. So just the fact that we have a molecule that can have some effect within the central nervous system is exciting in itself, and that's something I'm looking forward to because this will be a new thing in terms of how we treat patients and how that is going to affect the trajectory of the disease over time. As always, people talk about stem cells, and it's something that we are continuing to look at, but the closest right now is the BTKI group that we're going to see come to the market first, so I’m looking forward to that over time.
Ahmed Zayed Obeidat, MD, PhD: It's exciting, to your point, that this is a class, so now we are seeing multiple medications within a class in the pipeline already going on together. It's like a race. It's kind of interesting to see.
Annette Okai, MD, FAAN: Who gets there first?
Ahmed Zayed Obeidat, MD, PhD: That's right, and we're very eager, to your point, to see what the results and efficacy are. In early phase 2 studies, they are showing good efficacy, so we're excited about the results of phase 3 trials, and then there will be potentially another full class of medications available for our patients. This is really exciting, so I share your excitement, and I think it's great to have all these options coming.
Transcript Edited for Clarity