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U.S. FDA approves Pfizer’s VELSIPITY for adults with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Pfizer’s VELSIPITY (etrasimod), an oral, once-daily, selective sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulator for adults with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis (UC). The approved recommended dose for VELSIPITY is 2 mg.

UC is a chronic and often debilitating condition that affects an estimated 1.25 million people in the United States. Symptoms of UC can include chronic diarrhea with blood and mucus, abdominal pain, and urgency. However, its impact can span beyond the physical to other aspects of life due to the chronic and unpredictable nature of symptoms.

“VELSIPITY provides adults living with moderately to severely active UC the opportunity to achieve steroid-free remission with an oral, once-daily pill that has a favorable benefit-risk profile,” said Angela Hwang, Chief Commercial Officer and President of Global Biopharmaceuticals Business, Pfizer. “VELSIPITY’s FDA approval today marks a significant milestone for UC patients who need new treatments for this chronic condition and are ready to start advanced therapy.”

The U.S. FDA approval was based on results from the ELEVATE UC Phase 3 registrational program (ELEVATE UC 52 and ELEVATE UC 12) that evaluated the safety and efficacy of VELSIPITY 2 mg once-daily on clinical remission in UC patients who had previously failed or were intolerant to at least one conventional, biologic, or Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor therapy.

Nearly two-thirds of patients in ELEVATE UC 52 and ELEVATE UC 12 were naïve to biologic or JAK inhibitor therapy, and these studies were also the only studies for advanced therapies for ulcerative colitis to include patients with isolated proctitis. Both studies achieved all primary and key secondary efficacy endpoints, with a favorable safety profile consistent with previous studies of VELSIPITY.

“Because of the unpredictable nature of UC, people living with the disease can cycle through several different treatments over time. Patients may also be apprehensive about using injectable therapies, like biologics,” said Dr. Michael Chiorean, Co-Director of the IBD Center at Swedish Medical Center and an investigator in the ELEVATE Registrational Program. “It’s important to have new, effective options like VELSIPITY for those patients who may require an advanced treatment option and prefer the convenience of a once-daily pill. VELSIPITY is a proven advanced treatment with a favorable benefit-risk profile.”

“UC can affect patients differently and many people living with this disease struggle with ongoing symptoms,” said Michael Osso, President and CEO of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. “The introduction of a new treatment for UC could increase options for patients, and we look forward to seeing the impact of VELSIPITY for patients across the U.S.”

In ELEVATE UC 52, clinical remission was 27.0% for patients receiving VELSIPITY compared to 7.0% for patients receiving placebo at week 12 (20.0% differential, P˂.001) and was 32.0% compared to 7.0% at week 52 (26.0% differential, P=˂.001). In ELEVATE UC 12, clinical remission was achieved among 26.0% of patients receiving VELSIPITY compared to 15.0% of patients receiving placebo (11.0% differential, P=<.05). All key secondary efficacy endpoints were met at week 12, including endoscopic improvement and mucosal healing. The safety of VELSIPITY was consistent with previous studies, with the most common adverse reactions being headache, elevated liver tests, and dizziness (incidence ≥ 5%).

Full results from the program were published by The Lancet in March 2023.


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