Upadacitinib is currently in clinical development for patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). UC is a long-term condition where parts of the large bowel become inflamed, causing urgent bloody diarrhoea and abdominal pain. The symptoms of UC often follow a pattern where individuals with the condition have periods of no symptoms or mild symptoms (remission) followed by periods where their symptoms are particularly troublesome (flare-ups or relapses). There are therapeutic options available for UC, however these are not effective in more than one third of patients and can be associated with adverse effects that limit their use.
Upadacitinib is an oral medicine that reduces the activity of the immune system. Upadacitinib works by blocking the action of enzymes called Janus kinases. These enzymes are involved in setting up processes that lead to inflammation, and blocking their effect brings inflammation in the bowel under control. If licensed, upadacitinib will offer an additional treatment option for patients with moderately to severely active UC.