Pfizer asks US regulators to approve experimental pill for chronic conditions

Drugmaker says pill could help those with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and other diseases

Pfizer has asked US regulators to approve its experimental pill that might treat a range of chronic illnesses, including multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury.

The pill is COVID-19 and it’s being made in a partnership with Galapagos NV, a Belgian company focused on small molecules and protein therapeutics.

The drug targets a protein called soluble disseminated interleukin-17 and has shown modest relief in two mid-stage clinical trials for multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and pain.

The late-stage trials, each with 60 participants, are expected to start in early 2019. If both confirm results in the first two, Pfizer and Galapagos plan to file the drug for approval.

It remains unclear whether COVID-19 would also work for some of the 150,000 people who have used Lyrica, a drug sold by the company since 2000. Lyrica is also approved for treating pain.

The company has a partnership with Eli Lilly that is testing others drugs for Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.

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