Pfizer and Roivant launch autoimmune specialist Priovant

pharmafile | June 30, 2022 | News story | Business Services  

A start-up, called Priovant Therapeutics, has been formed to develop a JAK1/TYK2 inhibitor originated by Pfizer as a treatment for autoimmune diseases.

The drug, called brepocitinib, is the centrepiece of the new biotech’s R&D pipeline, and is already a pair of pivotal trials in patients with dermatomyositis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), with results in the latter indication due next year.

In November of last year, Pfizer said it was spinning off brepocitinib into a new company, and confirmed this week that it will retain a 25% stake in the new company. Priovant owns commercial rights in the US and Japan, and Pfizer owns the rights elsewhere.

The partners report that the drug is a potential first-in-class therapy that could offer improved efficacy than drugs working against JAK1 or TYK2 alone in autoimmune diseases. The drug is being targeted at indications with few treatment options as well as a high burden on patients.

Brepocitinib has already been tested in five placebo-controlled mid-stage trials in psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, alopecia areata, and hidradenitis suppurativa.

There are already several JAK inhibitors on the market, including Pfizer’s own Xeljanz (abrocitinib), whilst the TYK2 category is being led by Brisol-Myers Squibb’s deucravacitinib, which generated disappointing results in an ulcerative colitis trial last year, but is still an active programme.

Pfizer’s CSO, Mikal Dolsten, has said that Roivant is a partner with “a proven track record in late-stage inflammation and immunology drug development”.

Hiving off brepocitinib will allow Pfizer to “focus on diversifying its pipeline so that patients may benefit from potential options against inflammatory diseases,” Dolsten added. 

Lina Adams

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