Peter Lio, MD: Thoughts on Etrasimod for Atopic Dermatitis

March 28, 2021
Jonathan Alicea

Jonathan Alicea is an assistant editor for HCPLive. He graduated from Princeton University with a degree with English and minors in Linguistics and Theater. He spends his free time writing plays, playing PlayStation, enjoying the company of his 2 pugs, and navigating a right-handed world as a lefty. You can email him at

An expert offers his perspective on the investigative SLP receptor modulator for atopic dermatitis.

Arena Pharmaceuticals is currently investigating etrasimod, a highly selective sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulator, for atopic dermatitis as well as for other indications, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Phase 2b data from the ADVISE trial reported that 2 mg of the investigative drug led to clear or almost clear skin in patients, as measured according to the validated Investigator Global Assessment (vIGA). This improvement was considered to be statistically significant.

Etrasimod was also associated with statistically significant improvements in Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI), EASI-75 and pruritis at week 4. However, the trial did not meet the study primary endpoint of EASI change from baseline at week 12.

It was also considered well-tolerated with no serious adverse event across treatment groups.

As such, if approved by the US Food and Drug Administion (FDA), etrasimod will only expand the currently limited therapeutic toolbox for atopic dermatitis.

In a recent interview with HCPLive®, Peter Lio, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology & Pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, discussed the promise of this new drug as well as his concerns for it.

“It seems to have some real potential for inflammatory pathways,” he noted.

“My only hesitation is when we hear about something that works across multiple conditions, especially disparate conditions."

Nonetheless, Lio expressed cautious optimism and believed more data on its efficacy, accessibility, safety, and tolerability could help further elucidate its potential.

“I think the devil may be in the details, but I welcome it — we need all the options we can get,” he stressed.