Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan calls trials for the company’s new cancer treatment, “pretty remarkable.” The company has been working with new technologies on a treatment since 2018. Hannah Kuchler reports in the Financial Times:
Novartis is hoping to cement an early lead in a potential $10bn market for a new type of cancer treatment, called novel radioligand therapy, after positive results from its trials.
Vas Narasimhan, Novartis’s chief executive, said the pharmaceutical company has large-scale manufacturing capacity and relationships with hospitals, which will have to invest to adapt to deliver the treatments, that would lead to a “virtuous cycle” where competitors find it harder to displace the company’s dominance.
“We believe it could be, in the coming decade, a $10bn plus market,” he told the Financial Times. “When you look at the cancers it could address, you certainly have the opportunity to go much, much larger.”
Originally developed by physicists from CERN, the European organisation for nuclear research, Novartis’s radioligand therapy delivers beta radiation to tumours through an infusion, which is more targeted than the blunt tool of radiotherapy.
The technologies were acquired in two deals in 2018, with Novartis buying Endocyte for $2.1bn, and Advanced Accelerator Applications, founded by the CERN scientists, for $3.9bn.
In a phase 3 trial for treating prostate cancer, using the drug acquired from Endocyte, Novartis found it reduced the risk of death by 38 per cent, compared with the standard care.
Narasimhan said the trial results, published last month, were “pretty remarkable”.
The company plans to submit the treatment for regulatory approval in the US and the EU in the second half of the year. It will expand trials into earlier treatments for prostate cancer and is examining its use against other cancers, including in the lung and brain.
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