Pfizer's potential blockbuster RA drug reports Phase III success

Pfizer ($PFE) is reporting more good news in Phase III trials for its rheumatoid arthritis (RA) medicine tofacitinib, which has been called "one of the most exciting compounds in the pharmaceutical industry's collective pipeline." According to a Pfizer release, the drug has been meeting all primary endpoints in reducing signs and symptoms of RA at the 10-mg dose. The 5-mg dose missed one measure of improvement, notes Bloomberg.

These results come from an ongoing two-year study known as ORAL Scan, which randomized 800 patients with moderate-to-severe active RA who had an inadequate response to methotrexate.

The drug targets the intracellular signaling pathways--rather than extracellular targets--that operate as hubs in the inflammatory cytokine network. And analysts have been buzzing over its potential for RA, as well as a full slate of other inflammatory conditions.

Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer's president of worldwide research and development, told Reuters recently that there is "a great need and demand" for a drug like tofacitinib, which comes in a pill form and is easier to use than current injectable RA medicines. Some analysts believe the therapy can go on to become a blockbuster.

- take a look at Pfizer's release