FDA approves Pfizer ulcerative colitis drug Velsipity

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the Pfizer ulcerative colitis drug etrasimod. The oral drug, trade named Velsipity, targets a subset of receptors for the inflammatory signaling molecule sphingosine-1-phosphate. Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory colon condition that can cause severe bloody diarrhea and abdominal pain. Patients can be treated with steroids, biologics, or JAK inhibitors. Pfizer says Velsipity has an edge because it is available as a once-a-day pill. Pfizer acquired the drug when it bought Arena Pharmaceuticals in 2022. The company is also developing etrasimod for Crohn’s disease and for inflammatory conditions of the skin, esophagus, and scalp.

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