Will This Drug Be a Blockbuster for Pfizer?

drugsPharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) announced Monday that the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare approved its new rheumatoid arthritis drug, Xeljanz, for use in patients whose symptoms have not improved after trying at least on other treatment for the disease.

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While other treatments for rheumatoid arthritis merely relieve joint pain and inflammation, reported The Associated Press, Xeljanz is aimed at slowing the increasingly debilitating effects of the autoimmune disorder. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system mistakenly attacks parts of the body, the joints in particular, and this limits mobility and occasionally causes fingers to bend at painful angles. This chronic disease — which can also affect the lungs, heart, eyes, and nerves — generally becomes worse over time. However, the progression of the disease can be delayed with aggressive treatment, noted the publication.

Xeljanz, whose chemical name is tofacitinib, is the first approved treatment in a new type of medicines, known as Janus kinase inhibitors. Pfizer’s twice-a-day pill works at a cellular level, blocking the Janus kinase enzyme’s signal pathways, which are involved in the inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis…

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