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This week I got two exciting bits of news about barincitinib — a new JAK inhibitor developed by ELI Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY) and Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ:INCY). This is a new medication for the treatment of moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis.

The first was that the drug, with the brand name Olumiant, has been approved to treat RA in the European Union — either by itself or in conjunction with methotrexate. This is a major accomplishment in that it’s the first JAK inhibitor approved in the EU. (Full news release here.)

The second is that the drug, which is in late-stage regulatory review in the US and Japan, has shown significant patient improvement of both ACR50 and ACR70 scores starting at week 12 through week 52 as compared to the baseline treatment of adalimumab (Humira). The latest data was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the news release can be found here.

There are several reasons why I’m excited about this news, probably the most important is that it demonstrates an impressive investment into the research and development of new treatments for RA. As I, personally, am about to run out of treatment options, this gives me hope for the future. And the drug is a once-daily oral medication — not an injection or an infusion, which will make it more approachable for many RA patients.

The first JAK inhibitor marketed in the US, Pfizer’s Xeljanz, was approved in 2012 and subsequently expanded to include Xeljanz XR. The emergence of the second drug in this class broadens the field of treatment options for RA patients and is good news for all of us with inflammatory diseases.

I hope whatever treatment plan you’re on is working well. Thanks for checking in.

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