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New oral drug for psoriasis inches closer to the market

Melissa Leavitt

People with psoriasis are one step closer to another oral treatment option.

Tofacitinib, which is taken as a pill, can successfully treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, according to results from two Phase III trials released this week.

The trials, which tested the safety and efficacy of two separate doses of the drug, showed that tofacitinib was more effective than a placebo at reducing psoriasis severity. After 16 weeks, a significant number of patients in the trials achieved a 75 percent reduction in severity, and an assessment of "clear" or "almost clear" skin. Each trial enrolled more than 900 patients. No new safety concerns were raised by the trials.

Pfizer, the manufacturer of tofacitinib, plans to submit these results, along with the results of three other trials, by early 2015 as part of a drug approval application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Tofacitinib targets Janus kinase, an enzyme linked to psoriasis inflammation. It is currently available in the U.S. under the brand name of Xeljanz for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Learn more about psoriatic disease treatments in the drug pipeline.


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