* Exelixis to file Cabometyx for first-line use on good data
* Pfizer's Sutent helps patients after kidney cancer surgery
(Adds Exelixis planning to seek approval based on study
COPENHAGEN Oct 10 Exelixis's drug
Cabometyx outperformed Pfizer's Sutent in a clinical
study for the treatment of metastatic kidney cancer, suggesting
it has the potential to become a first-line treatment,
researchers said on Monday.
The drug is currently approved only in patients who have
already received prior therapy, while Sutent is cleared for
initial use. However, hopes have been building for the Exelixis
product in recent months, buoying the firm's shares.
The Phase II study results presented at the European Society
for Medical Oncology congress showed a 31 percent reduction in
disease progression or death among patients on Cabometyx
compared to those on Sutent. People on Cabometyx on average went
8.2 months before their disease worsened against 5.6 months for
those taking Sutent.
"This data shows that cabozantinib (Cabometyx) has the
potential to become a first-line standard treatment," said study
leader Toni Choueiri of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in
Exelixis said it planned to file for U.S. regulatory
approval to sell Cabometyx as a treatment of first-line advanced
kidney cancer on the basis of the latest clinical data.
Commenting on the findings, Bernard Escudier of France's
Institut Gustave-Roussy recommended additional studies using the
drug in the first-line setting but said the results raised hopes
for further improvements in treatment.
Ipsen has rights to Exelixis's drug in some
Pfizer, meanwhile, had more positive news for its
established medicine Sutent with a Phase III study showing that
it worked well in patients who had part or all of a kidney
Disease-free survival was 6.8 years with Sutent against 5.6
years with a placebo in the trial, which was the first to show
such an improvement in the post-surgery setting.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by David Evans, Greg