Swedish Company Enters US Trials with a New Drug for Osteoarthritis

The FDA has accepted Medivir’s application to start clinical development of MIV-711, a drug with the potential to improve current care of osteoarthritis patients.

Medivir is a pharmaceutical company based in Stockholm best known for a partnership with J&J’s Janssen that resulted in the development of simeprevir, a potent drug against hepatitis C now available worldwide. The company is now pushing its own proprietary candidates; MIV-711, an experimental therapy for osteoarthritis, has been cleared by the FDA to start clinical trials in US soil.

MIV-711, which is already in Phase IIa trials in Europe, is a cathepsin K inhibitor. Cathepsin K is a protease that breaks down collagen and has is thought to play a role in destroying the cartilage tissue during osteoarthritis. Medivir believes this mechanism could effectively alter the progression of the disease, unlike current treatments, which only alleviate symptoms.

However, Medivir will be facing competition from other companies seeking to develop their own disease-modifying treatments for osteoarthritis. The French pharma Servier is currently preparing a Phase II program for its candidate S201086, originally developed by the Belgian Galapagos (GLPG1972). Merck is also bidding for a new class of osteoarthritis treatment based on Ablynx’ nanobodies, and GSK is running a Phase II trial with an antibody from MorphoSys.

Image via medistock / Shutterstock

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