Pfizer HQ

Pfizer files new kidney cancer drug

pharmafile | June 2, 2011 | News story | Sales and Marketing Nexavar, Pfizer, rcc 

Pfizer has filed its kidney cancer drug axitinib in the EU after impressive head-head- trials with Bayer’s Nexavar.

Pfizer is seeking a European licence for axitinib, an oral VEGF inhibitor, in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) after failure of prior systemic treatment.

The AXIS 1032 phase III trials showed the drug significantly increase progression free survival (PFS) when compared to Bayer’s Nexavar (sorafenib).

In this trial axitinib achieved median PFS of 6.7 months compared with 4.7 months for those treated with Bayer’s drug.

Axitinib is also being investigated as a first line treatment for RCC, and in a mid-stage study for treating liver cancer.

Garry Nicholson, president and general manager of Pfizer oncology said: “While the prognosis for patients with advanced RCC has improved dramatically over the past five years thanks to the availability of new treatments, there is still a need for new options in this patient population.

“This regulatory filing for our innovative investigational therapy axitinib, as well as ongoing studies of our existing medications, underscores Pfizer’s commitment to patients with advanced RCC and our leadership in helping physicians treat this disease.”

But it has not been all good news for Pfizer’s drug, and in 2009 it failed an important phase III study for pancreatic cancer.

If approved, Pfizer’s drug will also be entering into an increasingly competitive market, which includes Nexavar and GSK’s recently approved Votrient, tipped to be the future market leader.

Pfizer has its own established RCC drugs in Sutent (sunitinib) and Torisel (temsirolimus).

But it will also need to compete with Novartis’ Afinitor (everolimus) and Roche’s Avastin (bevacizumab), which added RCC to its licenced indications in 2007.

Further data of axitinib and these drugs will be presented at the upcoming ASCO cancer conference in the US, starting on the 4 June.

Axitinib is an oral and selective inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors 1, 2 and 3, platelet derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR) and cKIT (CD117).

Pfizer has a number of other late stage oncology drugs, including bosutinib, an oral dual SRC and ABL kinase inhibitor for chronic myeloid leukaemia, and the eagerly anticipated crizotinib, for ALK positive non-small cell lung cancer, that was filed in the US and Japan last month.


Ben Adams   


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