Zhendong Med puts immunosuppressant for MS into US trials



China-based pharma firm Zhendong Medicine (SZ.300158) is beginning clinical development work in the US on a mystery small-molecule therapy for multiple sclerosis (MS). In a statement, the firm announced that Shanxi Zhendong Pioneer Biotechnology Co., Ltd, has been awarded clinical trial approval from the US FDA for ZD03, a novel drug candidate described as a next-generation improvement on Biogen Idec’s Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate).

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic auto-immune disease caused by progressive damage to the myelin sheath around nerves. Dimethyl fumarate is an immunosuppressant that is used as a first-line therapy for MS and helps to alleviate the disease symptoms by inhibiting cytokine production. Zhendong is aiming for a best-in-class product with ZD03, which is described as being more selective and requiring a lower dosage than dimethyl fumarate.

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