Study: Israeli drug slows Parkinsons

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A recently released study shows the Parkinson’s drug Azilect, developed by two professors at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, is effective at slowing the progression of the chronic and fatal neurological disease, a first for any drug.

The ADAGIO study, which treated 1,176 patients with early Parkinson’s at 129 medical centers in 14 countries over a period of 18 months, is one of the largest ever conducted on the disease.

The treatment groups received Azilect, and their progress was compared with control groups.

Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. has the rights to Azilect, which was developed by Technion professors Moussa Youdim and John Finberg.

Teva also has control over and manufactures Copaxone, the other drug developed wholly in Israel (by Weizmann Institute of Science researchers) for multiple sclerosis.

On the day after Azilect’s results were announced last month, Teva stock surged 3 percent in Tel Aviv, adding $1.2 billion to the drug giant’s market cap.

Teva intends to submit the results to the regulatory authorities in the United States and Europe. Based on these results, the drug could become the first Parkinson’s disease treatment in the world to receive a label for “disease modification.” Azilect received the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for sale in 2006.