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Innovation Observatory > Reports > Drugs > Ritlecitinib for alopecia areata

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Ritlecitinib for alopecia areata



September 2021

Ritlecitinib is in clinical development for the treatment of patients with alopecia areata (AA). AA is a disease that develops when the body attacks its own hair follicles (where the hair grows from), which can cause hair loss as small round patches of baldness anywhere on the body. Most commonly, this occurs on the scalp and has high rates of recurrence. There are also psychological implications such as increased levels of anxiety and depression in people with AA.
Ritlecitinib is an inhibitor of proteins called janus kinases (JAKs) and is administered orally. JAKs play a major role in signalling for hair follicle growth, specifically JAK inhibitors impede the immune system (the body’s defence against germs), including pathways involved in antiviral immunity, which appear to be active in AA. If licensed, ritlecitinib would offer an additional treatment option for those with AA.

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