(Adds details on expected wider use of drug)
March 25 Pfizer Inc's Xalkori delayed
progression of lung cancer longer than chemotherapy in patients
who had never previously been treated for the disease, according
to results of a late-stage study released on Tuesday.
The medicine, which received U.S. approval in 2011 for lung
cancer patients who have a specific gene mutation, had shown in
a previous Phase III trial that it significantly delayed disease
progression among those who have already undergone chemotherapy
for non-small-cell lung cancer, the most common form of the
Pfizer said favorable results from the latest trial,
combined with those from the earlier big study, establish that
Xalkori is appropriate for first-line as well as second-line
use, meaning for patients receiving initial treatment as well as
for those who have already undergone chemotherapy.
The drug is used among patients who have a mutation in the
so-called ALK gene, as determined by an approved diagnostic
test. The mutation only occurs in a small percentage of patients
with lung cancer, but makes them good candidates for treatment
Xalkori, with current annual sales of about $350 million, is
expected to get a significant boost from the new data. Cowen and
Co has predicted the medicine will generate annual peak sales of
$1.05 billion by 2020.
Pfizer is also developing an array of other cancer medicines
that work through new mechanisms, with the aim of becoming a
major player in the oncology field.
Pfizer shares were up 0.6 percent at $31.67 in midday
trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and