Pfizer blood cancer drug tops standard therapy for untreated patients

The Pfizer logo is seen at their world headquarters in New York April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File photo

(Reuters) - Pfizer Inc said on Monday its cancer drug, Bosulif, was found superior to Novartis AG’s Gleevec in a late-stage study on untreated patients with a form of blood and bone marrow cancer characterized by abnormal white blood cells production.

Most people with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) have a genetic mutation, called the Philadelphia chromosome, which causes the bone marrow to make an enzyme that triggers the development of abnormal and unhealthy white blood cells.

Gleevec is considered a standard-of-care therapy for these patients.

Bosulif is already approved to treat adults with Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+) CML who are resistant or intolerant to prior therapies, including Gleevec.

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, India’s largest drugmaker, launched its generic version of Gleevec in the United States in February, pricing it about 30 percent lower than the original drug’s annual price of around $90,000.

Pfizer said on Monday it would work with regulators to seek approval for Bosulif for previously untreated Ph+ CML patients.

Pfizer’s shares were up 0.3 percent at $31.72, in line with the gains among health stocks, in early trading.

Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza