Ozanimod as Induction and Maintenance Therapy for Ulcerative Colitis

N Engl J Med. 2021 Sep 30;385(14):1280-1291. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2033617.


Background: Ozanimod, a selective sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor modulator, is under investigation for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

Methods: We conducted a phase 3, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of ozanimod as induction and maintenance therapy in patients with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis. In the 10-week induction period, patients in cohort 1 were assigned to receive oral ozanimod hydrochloride at a dose of 1 mg (equivalent to 0.92 mg of ozanimod) or placebo once daily in a double-blind manner, and patients in cohort 2 received open-label ozanimod at the same daily dose. At 10 weeks, patients with a clinical response to ozanimod in either cohort underwent randomization again to receive double-blind ozanimod or placebo for the maintenance period (through week 52). The primary end point for both periods was the percentage of patients with clinical remission, as assessed with the three-component Mayo score. Key secondary clinical, endoscopic, and histologic end points were evaluated with the use of ranked, hierarchical testing. Safety was also assessed.

Results: In the induction period, 645 patients were included in cohort 1 and 367 in cohort 2; a total of 457 patients were included in the maintenance period. The incidence of clinical remission was significantly higher among patients who received ozanimod than among those who received placebo during both induction (18.4% vs. 6.0%, P<0.001) and maintenance (37.0% vs. 18.5% [among patients with a response at week 10], P<0.001). The incidence of clinical response was also significantly higher with ozanimod than with placebo during induction (47.8% vs. 25.9%, P<0.001) and maintenance (60.0% vs. 41.0%, P<0.001). All other key secondary end points were significantly improved with ozanimod as compared with placebo in both periods. The incidence of infection (of any severity) with ozanimod was similar to that with placebo during induction and higher than that with placebo during maintenance. Serious infection occurred in less than 2% of the patients in each group during the 52-week trial. Elevated liver aminotransferase levels were more common with ozanimod.

Conclusions: Ozanimod was more effective than placebo as induction and maintenance therapy in patients with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis. (Funded by Bristol Myers Squibb; True North ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02435992.).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bradycardia / chemically induced
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / chemically induced
  • Indans / adverse effects
  • Indans / therapeutic use*
  • Induction Chemotherapy
  • Intention to Treat Analysis
  • Maintenance Chemotherapy
  • Male
  • Oxadiazoles / adverse effects
  • Oxadiazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Sphingosine 1 Phosphate Receptor Modulators / adverse effects
  • Sphingosine 1 Phosphate Receptor Modulators / therapeutic use*


  • Indans
  • Oxadiazoles
  • Sphingosine 1 Phosphate Receptor Modulators
  • ozanimod

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02435992