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Reuters Health Information (2012-01-03): Aveo kidney cancer drug improves survival in late stage

Drug & Device Development

Aveo kidney cancer drug improves survival in late stage

Last Updated: 2012-01-03 17:29:02 -0400 (Reuters Health)

(Reuters) - Aveo Pharmaceuticals Inc said its experimental kidney cancer drug was safer and more effective than an already-approved drug marketed by Bayer and Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Aveo is currently testing the drug tivozanib in a late-stage trial in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma.

J.P. Morgan analyst Geoff Meacham said in a note to clients that he expects tivozanib to emerge as the first-line standard of care in renal cell carcinoma, which has a market of about $2 billion.

Tivozanib showed a median progression-free survival (PFS) of 11.9 months compared with a median of 9.1 months for those treated with Bayer and Onyx's Nexavar, also known as sorafenib, in the overall study population.

"Based on discussions with physicians, we believe a drug that prolongs disease progression or death by greater than one year will be very well received," Meacham said.

Pfizer Inc is currently awaiting approval for Inlyta -- its experimental drug for patients with advanced kidney cancer. The drug is also being tested as a treatment for liver cancer.

In February 2011, Aveo signed a deal worth up to $1.3 billion with Japan's Astellas Pharma to develop treatments for a broad range of cancers.

Based on the latest data, Aveo and Astellas plan to submit for marketing approval of tivozanib in the United States and Europe in 2012.

Meacham, who reiterated his "overweight" rating on Aveo's stock, said he expects a smooth regulatory process for tivozanib with a likely launch in 2013 and bringing in revenue of about $590 million in 2015.

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