At the November meeting of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC), Zinbryta (daclizumab), a new medication for the treatment of relapsing remitting MS received positive recommendations for inclusion on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
This decision is the first step in a process which will now see the decision go before the federal Government Cabinet for final approval. If approved, it will then allow people with MS across Australia access to this new treatment option.
Zinbryta received approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in October 2016 and has been registered for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS to delay the progression of physical disability and to reduce the frequency of relapses (please see our earlier article here). Zinbryta has also been approved for use by the European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration.
Daclizumab is already in use clinically for the prevention of kidney transplant rejection and was tested as a treatment for MS in two phase III clinical trials known as SELECT and DECIDE. You can read about the outcomes of these trials in our previous news item here.
Daclizumab is given as an injection under the skin once a month. It is a monoclonal antibody (a type of antibody that recognises a single specific target) that blocks the activity of interleukin-2, a chemical messenger of the immune system. It interferes with the activation and growth of immune cells.
MS Research Australia looks forward to the final recommendation regarding this new MS medication. The addition of a further affordable treatment option for relapsing MS will be a welcome development that will enable people with MS and their doctors to find effective therapies suited to their individual circumstances.
Individuals with MS should discuss any new treatment options with their neurologist.