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Teva says oral MS drug laquinimod may reduce brain tissue damage

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Sweden's Active Biotech said a Phase III clinical trial of laquinimod, an oral treatment for multiple sclerosis, demonstrated a beneficial impact on brain tissue damage.

The study found that, compared with a placebo, patients treated with laquinimod had decreased rates in brain tissue damage shown by various MRI markers, specifically decreased rates of white matter, grey matter and thalamic atrophy, the companies said on Tuesday.

The patients also developed fewer permanent black holes and accumulated less damage in normal appearing brain tissue.

"These analyses reinforce our faith in the potential of laquinimod," said Michael Hayden, president of global research and development and chief scientific officer for Teva.

He announced plans to initiate a clinical trial of the drug in primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

"We also believe the potential neuroprotective benefits of laquinimod could have significant application in the treatment of other diseases like Crohn's disease, lupus nephritis, Huntington's disease and Alzheimer's," Hayden said.

(Reporting by Tova Cohen)

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