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Novartis lung-cancer drug produces response in over half of patients

  • Novartis' (NVS) Ceritinib (LDK378) reduced the size of tumors in 58% of patients in a Phase I study of those suffering from a form of lung cancer that strikes 10,000 people a year in the U.S.
  • Ceritinib is the leader of a class of drugs that targets a gene known as ALK and is 20 times as effective as a drug from Pfizer (PFE) called Xalkori.
  • However, patients developed resistance to Ceritinib and the median time for progression-free survival was seven months.
  • The study involved 114 subjects, and while it was only Phase I, Novartis is using the results to file for FDA approval based on the drug's "breakthrough therapy designation."
  • Other companies developing ALK inhibitors include Ariad Pharmaceuticals (ARIA), and Roche (RHHBF) and Japan's Chugai (CHGCY) together, while Pfizer is working on a follow-on to Xalkori. (PR)
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