Bavencio/axitinib combo approved for NHS Scotland in advanced renal cell carcinoma

pharmafile | October 13, 2020 | News story | Manufacturing and Production, Sales and Marketing Merck, NHS, Pfizer, SMC 

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has given the go-ahead to Merck KGaA and Pfizer’s combination of their PD-L1 inhibitor immunotherapy Bavencio (avelumab) and VEGF-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor axitinib to be used routinely on NHS Scotland in the first-line treatment of adult patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

The decision is a significant boon to the treatment of a disease which sees around 1,200 new diagnoses in Scotland every year with a five-year survival rate of just 12%.

The decision to back the therapy was based on data which showed that the Bavencio/axitinib combo generated a 32% reduction in the risk of disease progression or death in all prognostic groups, while also almost doubling the objective response rate to 52.5% from 27.3%.

“Today’s announcement is excellent news and this approval is an important advancement for patients with advanced kidney cancer, improving their access to this promising new treatment. This first line combination therapy will make a real difference to patients and their quality of life,” explained Professor James Larkin, Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and supporter and Trustee of the Kidney Cancer Support Network.  

“Clinical trials, including the JAVELIN Renal 101 trial have shown that avelumab plus axitinib is superior to previous standards of care with significantly lowered risk of disease progression and an improved rate of progression free survival,” he continued. “This latest development is another great example of the work the health community and research is doing to improve access to cancer treatments.”

The drug combo was previously available to patients only through the MHRA’s Early Access to Medicines Scheme; it recently secured recommendation from NICE for use on the NHS in England and Wales.

Matt Fellows

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