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Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs in the Pipeline

Numerous new medications are currently in development for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

A drug pipeline consists of a group of drugs that are in development at any given time by various pharmaceutical companies. The drugs in the pipeline go through 4 main phases: discovery, pre-clinical, clinical trials, and marketing (which occurs after approval).

There are about 5,000 drugs in development today in the United States alone for various conditions. Researchers strive to develop drugs for patients who have unmet needs. According to PhRMA (the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America), “In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 51 new medicines across a wide variety of disease areas. Forty-one of those approvals were by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) at the FDA, the highest number since 1996. Among CDER approvals, 41% were identified as first-in-class medicines, meaning they use a unique mechanism of action to treat a medical condition that is different from any other approved medicine.”

Developing Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs

Since 1998, when Enbrel (etanercept) was the first biologic drug marketed for rheumatoid arthritis, biologic DMARDs (biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) changed the treatment landscape for people living with the disease. By targeting the cells involved in the progression of rheumatoid arthritis, biologic DMARDs and other DMARDs, known as JAK inhibitors, have improved the prognosis for many patients and made clinical remission possible for some.

Several biologic DMARDs have been approved and marketed in the years following Enbrel’s approval. Enbrel is a TNF inhibitor.

Other examples of TNF inhibitors currently marketed are Remicade (infliximab), Humira (adalimumab), Cimzia (certolizumab pegol), and Simponi (golimumab). There has been one JAK inhibitor approved, in 2012, called Xeljanz (tofacitinib). More drugs in these drug classes are in development. JAK inhibitors are sometimes referred to as oral biologics.

The biologic DMARDs are large molecule proteins which must be injected or infused.

Read Full Article: Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs in the Pipeline


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