Two NEW Ulcerative Colitis Treatment Options that Aren't Biologics

2 New Ulcerative Colitis Treatment Options that Aren't Biologics
Patients are gaining access to new UC medications IMU-838 and PF-06651600 in clinical trials.

Biologics such as Remicade and Humira have been a mainstay ulcerative colitis (UC) treatment for the past two decades. However, as researchers work to develop inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) treatment options that are less expensive, more convenient, and more effective than the conventional biologic therapies, new types of therapies are moving steadily through the development pipeline.

Finding the Right Ulcerative Colitis Medication

Too often, patients struggle to find the best UC treatment, switching between an array of UC therapy options including steroids, immunomodulators, biologics, antibiotics, and aminosalicylates before finding a treatment that works for their individual case.

Although the ongoing struggle to find the right UC treatment is no easy journey, patients today have a growing number of options at their fingertips. In fact, here are two new UC medications currently showing promising results in clinical trials.

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Oral Tablet IMU-838 from Immunic Therapeutics

IMU-838 is being developed as an oral tablet for treating both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Clinical stage company Immunic Therapeutics began Phase 1 trials on IMU-838 in February 2017 and started Phase 2 testing on patients with ulcerative colitis in early 2018. They are currently recruiting patients to participate in Phase 2 clinical trials.

The IMU-838 medication is an oral tablet taken once daily. The compound works by blocking the function of dihydroorotatedehydrogenase (DHODH), an enzyme that is plays a role in the activation of lymphocytes. By selectively inhibiting the DHODH enzyme and its associated lymphocytes. this medication modulates the immune response, reducing the number of pro-inflammatory immune cells that are released. This is a common approach to treating chronic inflammatory conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, which is characterized by an overstimulated immune system.

Previous studies conducted on patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis currently on steroid therapy revealed that a key molecule in the IMU-838 compound (called vidofludimus) played an active role in the patients’ remission maintenance therapy.

Pfizer Develops JAK3 Inhibitor PF-06651600

Among several other pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer is developing a treatment for IBD known as a Janus kinase (JAK) selective inhibitor. The new drug is currently going under the code name PF-06651600, and the developers are currently recruiting participants for their 12-week Phase 2 clinical trials across the United States. PF-06651600 is taken as on oral tablet and is being investigated as a treatment for both Crohn’s and colitis.

One JAK inhibitor is already approved for the treatment of IBD (tofacitinib), but several more are in development, including upadacitinib (AbbVie) and Filgotinib (Galapagos). JAK inhibitors target some or all of the enzymes known as Janus kinases, interfering with the signalling pathway involved in the body’s inflammatory response.

Pfizer describes their product as a potent JAK3-selective inhibitor, meaning that targets only one type of JAK—this could translate into an advantage in a clinical setting, as the more targeted activity of PF-06651600 means that the normal functioning of other Janus kinase enzymes may not be negatively affected.

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IMU-838. Immunic Therapeutics. Retrieved from
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