Ponesimod (Ponvory™) provides more benefits than teriflunomide (Aubagio®) in early-stage multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a subgroup analysis of a phase 3 clinical trial called OPTIMUM that compared the 2 treatments in patients with relapsing MS.

“The OPTIMUM subgroup analysis supports the principle of early treatment intervention with high potency therapies such as ponesimod, which aims to reduce relapse rates, improve patient outcomes and ultimately contribute to a better quality of life for people living with MS,” Allitia DiBernardo, MD, the global medical affairs head in neurology at Janssen Global Services, LLC, said in a press release.

The findings were reported as an e-poster at the 37th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) that took place October 13-15, 2021. They showed that ponesimod significantly reduced the annualized relapse rate by 47% as well as MS-related fatigue, compared to teriflunomide treatment, in patients who had an Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score of 3 or lower at baseline.

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In the subgroup analysis, 1133 patients were randomized—567 of whom were treated with ponesimod and 566 with teriflunomide—and those with an EDSS score of 3 or lower or who were treatment-naïve were analyzed. 

The results showed that both patients with an EDSS score of 3 or lower and treatment-naïve patients significantly benefited from ponesimod compared to teriflunomide, according to the press release.

Tamara Werner-Kiechle, MD, the therapeutic area lead in neuroscience and pulmonary hypertension in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at Janssen Cilag GmbH, stated, “These data represent a significant contribution towards our goal of making a positive impact for people living with MS.”

Ponesimod is a sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor modulator made by Janssen for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS in adults. It binds to receptors found on the surface of T and B cells, thereby preventing their exit from the lymph nodes and limiting the damage they cause to the nervous system.


New subgroup analysis of the phase 3 OPTIMUM study demonstrates the benefits of Ponvory™ (ponesimod) over teriflunomide in early disease multiple sclerosis. News release. Janssen; October 13, 2021.