The natural history of Friedreich ataxia is being investigated in a multi-center longitudinal study designated the Friedreich ataxia Clinical Outcome Measures Study (FACOMS). To understand the utility of this study in analysis of clinical trials, the authors performed a propensity-matched comparison of data from the open-label MOXIe extension (omaveloxolone) to that from FACOMS. MOXIe extension patients were matched to FACOMS patients using logistic regression to estimate propensity scores based on multiple covariates: sex, baseline age, age of onset, baseline modified Friedreich Ataxia Rating scale (mFARS) score, and baseline gait score. The change from baseline in mFARS at Year 3 for the MOXIe extension patients compared to the matched FACOMS patients was analyzed as the primary efficacy endpoint using mixed model repeated measures analysis. Data from the MOXIe extension show that omaveloxolone provided persistent benefit over 3 years when compared to an untreated, matched cohort from FACOMS. At each year, in all analysis populations, patients in the MOXIe extension experienced a smaller change from baseline in mFARS score than matched FACOMS patients. In the primary pooled population (136 patients in each group) by Year 3, patients in the FACOMS matched set progressed 6.6 points whereas patients treated with omaveloxolone in MOXIe extension progressed 3 points (difference = -3.6; nominal p value = 0.0001). These results suggest a meaningful slowing of Friedreich ataxia progression with omaveloxolone, and consequently detail how propensity-matched analysis may contribute to understanding of effects of therapeutic agents. This demonstrates the direct value of natural history studies in clinical trial evaluations.

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