Data establishing a safe and effective dose of an investigational oral janus kinase inhibitor CP-690,550 got a lot of attention at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology. It may be phase II data, but people are excited about a drug with a molecule so small that it can be given orally. This represents a welcome change from the large molecule biologic agents that must be infused. Rheumatologists here appear to be ready for a new generation of rheumatoid arthritis drugs.
Positive data on two new biologic agents presented here were greeted with a big yawn: “It’s like the 27th new beta-blocker. Who cares?” noted one rheumatologist who asked not to be named.
Even though some rheumatologists make money through in-office infusion suites for biologic agents, many are tired of the drugs’ high prices. There were many stories about patients choosing to stop their RA biologic therapy during this weak economy when they lost their insurance. This crowd is not naive enough to think the JAK inhibitor will be cheap, but most believe that at least it will be cheaper.
—Sally Koch Kubetin