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Iressa successor enters phase III

Published on 19/07/05 at 01:41pm

AstraZeneca's oncology compound ZD6474 has entered phase III trials after positive results in trials in non-small cell lung cancer.

The drug, now also known as Zactima, is the second in the novel VEGF inhibitor class of cancer drugs AstraZeneca has developed to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Iressa was the first, but long-term data released earlier in late 2004 found it did not prolong the life of patients, and the older drug is likely to see only very limited use around the world.

AstraZeneca hopes their new drug will surpass Iressa and prove its ability to prolong the life of patients with NSCLC, one of the most difficult to treat of all the cancers.

Zactima has shown promising results in two phase II trials, one comparing it with Iressa and one in combination with docetaxel (Taxotere).

Results from the second trial showed Zactima improved progression free survival compared to docetaxel, although it did not show any significant effect on overall survival. The company says this may be because of the small number of patients in the trial or that survival data was potentially confounded by subsequent therapies.

Phase III trials will investigate both progression free survival and survival outcomes.

Meanwhile, Roche and Genentech's rival VEGF inhibitor drug Tarceva (erlotinib) has been boosted by new data showing it prolonged the life of patients on clinical trials.

Tarceva benefited from the setback to Iressa, and is set to dominate the NSCLC market, with peak sales to reach as high as $900 million. The drug was approved in the US in November 2004 and is expected to gain marketing approval in Europe this summer.

Related articles:

Roche's Tarceva approaches EU approval 

Tuesday , June 28, 2005






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