FDA approves sixth drug for Biogen Idec; Plegridy will be made in Morrisville

Federal regulators approved a sixth drug for sale in the United States by Biogen Idec, a Massachusetts drug developer that plans to make all six medications in the Triangle within a year.

Biogen said Friday its Multiple Sclerosis drug, Plegridy, was approved as a new treatment to help prevent MS relapses. The drug is an interferon with a mechanism that extends its effectiveness so that injections can be reduced by half to once every two weeks.

Plegridy is Biogen’s third drug approved for the U.S. market this year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA approval was based on a study using more than 1,500 MS patients, more than a third of whom saw a significant reduction of relapses using the Biogen treatment, the company said.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Biogen employs 7,000 globally, including 1,100 in Morrisville and 100 in Durham.

The company’s approved drugs are used by MS and hemophilia patients.

Plegridy can be injected at a doctor’s office or at home using a pre-filled, syringe called a “Plegridy Pen.”