Drug News

X-raying The First Biosimilar to Tysabri for Multiple Sclerosis and Crohn’s Disease Approved By The FDA

In a significant stride for medical advancements, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted approval to Tyruko (natalizumab-sztn), marking the first-ever biosimilar to Tysabri (natalizumab) injection. Tyruko was approved for the treatment of adults grappling with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and moderately to severely active Crohn’s Disease (CD) with signs of inflammation and unresponsiveness to traditional CD therapies and TNF-α inhibitors.

The introduction of Tyruko, which closely mirrors the efficacy of Tysabri, carries immense potential in widening the treatment landscape for individuals contending with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. As per Paul R. Lee, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Division of Neurology 2 within the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, this approval holds the promise of a transformative impact on disease management for patients.

Tyruko’s Role in Relapsing Forms of MS

Tyruko has garnered approval for treating various forms of relapsing multiple sclerosis, including:

1.        Clinically Isolated Syndrome: The initial appearance of MS symptoms as a single occurrence.

2.        Relapsing-Remitting Disease: A type of MS characterized by episodes of new neurological symptoms followed by stable periods.

3.        Active Secondary Progressive Disease: Gradual disability worsening following a relapsing-remitting course.

The Significance of Biosimilars

Biosimilars represent a significant stride in modern medicine. These biological products mirror existing medications, offering patients comparable safety and effectiveness. The FDA’s stringent approval standards ensure that biosimilars meet the same benchmarks of quality as reference products. In the case of Tyruko, its approval was based on evidence demonstrating its alignment with Tysabri in terms of safety, purity, and potency.

Balancing Access and Quality

Sarah Yim, M.D., Director of the Office of Therapeutic Biologics and Biosimilars in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, underscores the FDA’s commitment to fostering a competitive marketplace for biological products. By endorsing biosimilar options, the FDA not only empowers patients with broader access to effective medications but also contributes to potential cost savings.

The Impact of MS

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system, leading to communication disruptions between the brain and the body. Particularly prevalent among young adults, it presents as one of the primary causes of acquired neurological disability. The disease often involves relapses followed by remissions, but over time, incomplete recovery can lead to progressive decline and heightened disability.

Prioritizing Safety and Monitoring

Tyruko, along with its reference product Tysabri, bears a boxed warning in the Prescribing Information due to the elevated risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML)—a viral brain infection with severe consequences. The risk factors for PML development include the presence of specific antibodies, longer therapy duration, and previous use of immunosuppressants. The importance of weighing risks against benefits is emphasized, and healthcare providers are advised to closely monitor patients for any signs of PML.

Empowering Patient Care

The approval of Tyruko stands as a testament to ongoing efforts in healthcare to combine innovation and patient well-being. By offering an alternative that maintains the efficacy of existing treatments, biosimilars like Tyruko exemplify the potential for advanced medical solutions to enhance patient care and expand therapeutic options.


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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