Pfizer's Xeljanz marches toward ulcerative colitis nod with new data

Pfizer may have given up on a couple of areas of expansion for anti-inflammatory med Xeljanz. But not ulcerative colitis--and now it’s got new data that could help make that expansion a reality.

Friday, the pharma giant announced that Xeljanz beat out placebo in a Phase III maintenance study, posting a significantly higher proportion of patients in remission at week 52.

It’s good news for Pfizer, which is currently looking at fewer potential frontiers for growth than it was just a year ago. Last October, it announced it was nixing development projects for the med in Crohn’s and ankylosing spondylitis--and reconsidering its desire to play in the crowded psoriasis marketplace, too.

Instead, it said, it would double down on rheumatoid arthritis, the med’s current indication, and focus development efforts on UC and psoriatic arthritis to help the slow starter pick up the pace.  And since then, it’s rolled out data from a pair of other studies that met their primary endpoints, too, which bodes well for the fate of a future regulatory submission package.

That’s not to say Xeljanz would be without its hefty rivals if it did snag a UC nod. AbbVie’s Humira, which tops the list of world’s best-selling drugs, would be among them. But unlike the AbbVie blockbuster, Xeljanz is a pill--and it’s also the first in its class of JAK inhibitors to be studied in the chronic condition, which affects millions of patients around the world.

- read the release 

Special Reports: The top 15 pharma companies by 2014 revenue - Pfizer | The top 10 most-advertised prescription drug brands - Xeljanz 

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