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Sarepta Therapeutics (Formerly known as AVI BioPharma, Inc.) (SRPT)'s Experimental Drug May Help Boys With Muscular Dystrophy, Shares Soar


10/3/2012 7:42:31 AM

CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwire - October 03, 2012) - Sarepta Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SRPT), a developer of innovative RNA-based therapeutics, today announced that treatment with its lead exon-skipping compound, eteplirsen, met the primary efficacy endpoint, increase in novel dystrophin, and achieved a significant clinical benefit on the primary clinical outcome, the 6-minute walk test (6MWT) over the placebo/delayed treatment cohort in a Phase IIb extension trial in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients.

Eteplirsen administered once weekly at either 30 mg/kg or 50 mg/kg for 48 weeks (n=8) resulted in a statistically significant increase (p≤0.001) in dystrophin-positive fibers to 47.0% of normal. The placebo/delayed treatment cohort, which had received 24 weeks of eteplirsen at either 30 mg/kg or 50 mg/kg following 24 weeks of placebo (n=4), also showed a statistically significant increase in dystrophin-positive fibers to 38.3% of normal (p≤0.009).

"These data represent a significant milestone and a defining moment of progress and hope for patients with DMD and their families, as well as for those of us in the scientific community who have been pursuing potential treatments for this devastating and deadly disease for decades," said Jerry Mendell, M.D., Director of the Centers for Gene Therapy and Muscular Dystrophy at Nationwide Children's Hospital and principal investigator of the Phase IIb study. Dr. Mendell added, "By addressing the underlying cause of DMD, eteplirsen has demonstrated unparalleled effects on enabling dystrophin production and slowing the progression of the disease as measured by the 6-minute walk test, with no treatment associated adverse events. While eteplirsen is targeted to DMD patients with a specific genetic mutation, I think the implications for all DMD patients with related genetic mutations are clearly evident."

Eteplirsen administered once weekly at 50 mg/kg over 48 weeks resulted in an 89.4 meter benefit compared to patients who received placebo for 24 weeks followed by 24 weeks of treatment with eteplirsen in the open-label extension. In the predefined prospective analysis of the study's intent-to-treat (ITT) population on the primary clinical outcome measure, the change in 6MWT distance from baseline, eteplirsen-treated patients who received 50 mg/kg of the drug weekly (n=4) demonstrated an increase of 21.0 meters in distance walked from baseline (mean=396.0 meters), while patients who received placebo/delayed-eteplirsen treatment (n=4) showed a decline of 68.4 meters from baseline (mean=394.5 meters), for a statistically significant treatment benefit of 89.4 meters over 48 weeks (p=0.016, using ANCOVA for ranked d


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