CHMP backs Novartis's Zykadia for first-line use in lung cancer

A sign marks a building on Novartis' campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., February 28, 2017. Picture taken February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

ZURICH (Reuters) - Novartis’s push to win approval for Zykadia as an initial treatment for a type of lung cancer got a lift on Friday with a positive recommendation from the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP).

Zykadia is vying with Roche’s Alecensa to become a first-line treatment for anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive lung cancer. Pfizer’s Xalkori, with $561 million in 2016 sales, has approval in that setting.

In April, a Roche study showed Alecensa kept people alive longer without their disease progressing than Xalkori. Analysts have said that could give Roche an edge over Novartis, which has compared its drug to chemotherapy.

The CHMP nod for Zykadia will now be reviewed by the European Commission.

Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Michael Shields