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Phase III Data on Safinamide in Parkinson’s Disease Presented,at American Academy of Neurology 59th Annual Meeting

dy and baseline of minus 2.2 ± 3.8 in the safinamide-treated group versus minus 1.2 ± 3.5 in the placebo group; p=0.0248; 95% CI=[-1.8;-0.1]).

Safinamide was also studied for effects on cognition. Compared with patients on dopamine agonist monotherapy, the addition of safinamide was associated with an improvement in cognitive function as shown by an improvement in tests assessing spatial working memory, strategic target detection and auditory number sequencing.

The side effects observed in the safinamide group were similar to those observed in the placebo group.

The trial was conducted in Europe, South America and Asia. A total of 270 early stage Parkinson’s disease patients (less than 5 years of disease) treated with a stable dose of a single dopamine agonist for at least 4 weeks were randomized to one of the three arms of the study to receive either safinamide at a dose of 50 to 100 mg once daily (90 patients), or safinamide at a dose of 150 to 200 mg once daily (90 patients) or matching placebo tablets (90 patients), as an add-on treatment to dopamine agonist therapy.

The higher safinamide dose-range of 150 to 200 mg per day did not offer any incremental advantage over safinamide 50 to 100 mg per day dose-range based on UPDRS scoring.

A one-year (52-week) extension phase of this study is ongoing. A second Phase III pivotal study of safinamide, in patients with mid-to-late stage Parkinson’s disease with motor fluctuations treated with a stable dose of levodopa, was initiated in November 2006.

Merck Serono has exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize safinamide in Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, other cognitive disorders and restless leg syndrome, as per the agreement signed with Newron in October 2006.

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