Roivant’s anti-inflammatory drug succeeds in mid-stage study By Reuters

It is Bhanvi Satija

(Reuters) – Roivant Sciences (NASDAQ: ) said on Tuesday its experimental drug to treat non-infectious uveitis helped reduce symptoms of inflammatory eye disease in a mid-term study, sending shares of the biotech company up 8% in market trade.

In a trial of 26 patients, 29% of those who received a high strength of 45 milligram (mg) dose and 44% of those who received a dose of 15 mg experienced a treatment problem, with a lower number that means a greater benefit of the drug.

The drug, brepocitinib, also helped reduce a type of inflammation called macular edema, in some patients who received higher doses.

Brepocitinib is designed to destroy and inhibit two proteins – TYK2 and JAK1 – that help the immune system to protect itself and targets the cause of the disease that can cause severe and irreversible vision loss and blindness.

The only approved drug that targets non-infectious uveitis is Abbvie’s Humira, which lost its patent in the United States in 2023.

Brepocitinib could become the first oral treatment for the disease if successful and approved, Leerink expert David Risinger said in a recent note.

This could greatly benefit Priovant Therapeutics, a joint venture between Roivant and Pfizer (NYSE:), holds worldwide rights to the oral and topical versions of the drug.

The company plans to start a clinical trial in the second half of this year and test the drug in another late-stage study to treat patients with an inflammatory muscle condition called dermatomyositis.

Roivant also said on Tuesday that its board approved a share buyback program of up to $1.5 billion, including $648 million back to Sumitomo Pharma.

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