Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada



  • Also known as: SAR339658 (Genzyme)
  • Route of Administration: Intravenous
  • Type: Humanized monoclonal antibody
  • Emerging treatment for: RRMS
  • Status: In Phase II of clinical trials

How it Works

Vatelizumab binds to VLA-2, a receptor that is found on activated lymphocytes (destructive immune cells in MS) and is involved in anchoring them to collagen. It is not entirely clear how vatelizumab works, but it is speculated that by blocking VLA-2 receptors, vatelizumab prevents lymphocytes from binding to collagen that builds up in inflammation sites, in turn disrupting the inflammatory response in MS.

Research and Results

A Phase II study, called EMPIRE, is currently recruiting patients with RRMS; patients will undergo treatment with multiple doses of vatelizumab over the course of 12 weeks, and will then be monitored for 92 weeks. The primary objectives of the study are to measure the ability of the drug to reduce the cumulative number of imaged lesions in the central nervous system compared to placebo, and to establish a dose-response. The secondary objectives are to determine the safety and tolerability of the drug. The scheduled study completion date is April 2018.

Adverse Effects Reported

Adverse effects are unknown, pending results from the EMPIRE trial that is currently underway.


Tsunoda I et al. Modulation of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by VLA-2 blockade. Brain Pathol. 2007; 17(10):45-55.

Werr J et al. Integrin alpha(2)beta(1) (VLA-2) is a principal receptors used by neutrophils for locomotion in extravascular tissue. Blood. 2000; 95(5):1804-9.