An independent panel of advisors to the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday concluded that a treatment developed by Biogen for a rare, genetic form of ALS should be approved, despite unanswered questions about its benefit to patients.
By a 9-0 vote, the FDA advisory panel said the “totality of the evidence” was sufficient to support conditional approval of the Biogen drug, called tofersen. By a 5-3 vote (with one abstention) the same experts concluded that the tofersen data, including from a failed clinical trial, were not sufficiently convincing to support full approval.
The FDA is not required to follow the recommendation of its outside advisors, but often does. The mixed votes suggest the FDA will likely grant Biogen accelerated approval for tofersen based on preliminary evidence. This would allow the company to market the drug while it collects additional data to confirm its benefit.
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