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First of Its Kind Data Show: Immediate Treatment of Early MS,Patients with Betaseron Significantly Delayed Permanent Disability

Risk to confirmed EDSS progression reduced by 40 percent compared to delayed treatment

BOSTON, May 01, 2007 /PRNewswire/ -- Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals announced today new data, which show that immediate initiation(1) of Betaseron(R) (interferon beta-1b) treatment in patients with a first event suggestive of multiple sclerosis (MS) can significantly reduce the risk of permanent neurological impairment as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) by 40 percent(2) over three years compared to delayed treatment(3). These findings from the BENEFIT (BEtaseron in Newly Emerging multiple sclerosis For Initial Treatment) studies(4) were presented today at the American Academy of Neurology's 59th Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

"Some patients have already developed significant neurological damage when they first present with signs of MS, which can lead to accumulated disability later in life. The BENEFIT results clearly show that immediate treatment with Betaseron initiated after the first clinical event can significantly reduce that damage, which could translate into a greater delay in the time it takes for patients to suffer from the debilitating consequences of MS," said Dr. Mark S. Freedman, Professor of Neurology at the University of Ottawa and investigator of the study. "This is a truly novel finding that has not yet been demonstrated for any other immunomodulatory MS treatment, and underscores the urgent need to treat patients early, rather than waiting for further signs of MS to develop. Physicians and patients should consider these unprecedented findings when making treatment decisions."

"We are delighted that the BENEFIT study continues to deliver groundbreaking results," said Darlene Jody, M.D., Senior Vice President and President, of Bayer Healthcare's Specialized Therapeutics Global Business Unit. "In the past year, Betaseron has received approval around the world f
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