Merck's Cladribine Tablets for Multiple Sclerosis Approved in Australia

Merck KGaAMerck KGaA announced today that the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved Cladribine Tablets for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). Cladribine Tablets will be registered in Australia under the trade name Movectro®.

"Approval of Cladribine Tablets in Australia is another step forward in our commitment to fight the devastating disease of multiple sclerosis by providing new therapeutic options meeting unmet needs," said Elmar Schnee, Member of the Executive Board and Head of the Merck Serono division. "Australia is the second country to approve Cladribine Tablets and we will continue our efforts to gain approval of Cladribine Tablets in other countries so that more patients can benefit from this oral disease-modifying therapy."

Cladribine Tablets, also under the trade name Movectro, became the first oral MS treatment in the world to gain marketing authorization when health authorities in Russia approved it in July 2010. Merck Serono initiated global submissions for Cladribine Tablets in mid-2009 and to date has submitted regulatory applications for Cladribine Tablets covering about 40 countries.

About Cladribine Tablets
Merck Serono's oral formulation of cladribine (Cladribine Tablets) is an investigational treatment for patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Cladribine is a small molecule that may interfere with the behavior and the proliferation of certain white blood cells, particularly lymphocytes, which are thought to be involved in the pathological process of MS. Merck Serono initiated global filings for Cladribine Tablets in mid-2009 and, to date has submitted regulatory applications for Cladribine Tablets covering about 40 countries. Cladribine Tablets was granted its first marketing approval in July 2010, in Russia.

The clinical development program for Cladribine Tablets includes:

  • The CLARITY (CLAdRIbine Tablets treating MS orallY) study and its extension: a two-year Phase III placebo-controlled trial designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Cladribine Tablets as a monotherapy in patients with relapsing-remitting MS and the CLARITY EXTENSION two-year Phase III study designed to provide data on the long-term safety and efficacy of extended administration of Cladribine Tablets for up to four years.
  • The ORACLE MS (ORAl CLadribine in Early MS) study: a two-year Phase III placebo-controlled trial designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Cladribine Tablets as a monotherapy in patients at risk of developing MS (patients who have experienced a first clinical event suggestive of MS). This trial was announced in September 2008.
  • The ONWARD (Oral Cladribine added oN to interferon beta-1a in patients With Active Relapsing Disease) study: a Phase II placebo-controlled trial designed primarily to evaluate the safety and tolerability of adding Cladribine Tablets treatment to patients with relapsing forms of MS, who have experienced breakthrough disease while on established interferon-beta therapy. This trial was announced in January 2007.
  • The PREMIERE (PRospective observational long-term safEty registry of Multiple sclerosis patIEnts who have participated in CladRibinE clinical trials) registry: an eight-year observational safety registry of patients who have participated in Cladribine Tablets clinical trials, designed to support the evaluation of the long-term safety of Cladribine Tablets in MS.

About multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory condition of the central nervous system and is the most common, non-traumatic, disabling neurological disease in young adults. It is estimated that approximately two million people have MS worldwide. While symptoms can vary, the most common symptoms of MS include blurred vision, numbness or tingling in the limbs and problems with strength and coordination. The relapsing forms of MS are the most common.

About Merck KGaA
Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues of EUR 7.7 billion in 2009, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by approximately 40,000 (including Merck Millipore) employees in 64 countries. Its success is characterized by innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck's operating activities come under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the Merck family holds an approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own the remaining approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck & Co. was expropriated and has been an independent company ever since.

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