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Pfizer ulcerative colitis drug etrasimod leads to remission in a third of patients

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Nearly one third of patients with ulcerative colitis who received an experimental Pfizer Inc drug in a clinical trial were in remission after a year of treatment, the drugmaker said on Tuesday.

The drug, etrasimod, was the key asset Pfizer picked up in its $6.7 billion deal for Arena Pharmaceuticals last year. Analysts have estimated that peak sales could top $3 billion a year.

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Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease. It affects around 3.8 million people in North America and Europe, according to the company, which plans to seek US approval for etrasimod to treat UC in the second half of this year.

In its 52-week, 409-patient study, 32.1 percent of those who received etrasimod were in clinical remission after one year,
compared with 6.7 percent for those who got a placebo.

Twelve weeks into that trial, clinical remission was 27 percent among etrasimod recipients versus 7.4 percent in the placebo arm.

In a separate 12-week study, Pfizer said clinical remission was achieved among 24.8 percent of patients receiving etrasimod
compared to 15.2 percent of patients receiving a placebo.

Etrasimod belongs to a class of drugs called sphingosine1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulators. If approved, etrasimod
would compete with Bristol Myers Squibb’s S1P UC drug Zeposia.

“We’ve always been interested in S1P,” Michael Corbo, Pfizer’s chief development officer for inflammation and immunology, said in an interview. “We think that we’ve gotten one that is really one of the best that we’re going to find.”

Pfizer had previously said both etrasimod trials succeeded, but did not disclose the actual data at that time.

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