March 25, 2009 / 7:46 AM / 10 years ago

Novartis-Antisoma lung cancer drug tested in Japan

LONDON, March 25 (Reuters) - Clinical trials of an experimental lung cancer drug being developed by Novartis AG NOVN.VX in partnership with Britain’s Antisoma Plc ASM.L have been extended to Japan.

Antisoma said on Wednesday that the Phase III programme evaluating ASA404 as a first-line treatment for non-small cell lung cancer was now enrolling patients in Japan — an important step towards a potential application to sell the drug in the country.

Late-stage trials of ASA404 were first started in other countries in April last year.

Novartis bought the global rights to the drug in 2007 in a deal that might eventually earn Antisoma as much as $890 million if a series of milestones are met and a second drug is acquired.

ASA404 is the first in a new type of cancer treatment designed to disrupt the supply of blood to tumours. It works in a different way from Roche Holding AG ROG.VX and Genentech Inc’s DNA.N Avastin. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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