The FDA has granted Novartis’ investigational compound LDK378 Breakthrough Therapy designation for the treatment of patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase positive (ALK+) metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who had progressed during treatment with, or were intolerant to, crizotinib.
There are limited treatment options for patients with ALK+ NSCLC, who tend to be non-smokers and younger than NSCLC patients without an ALK translocation.
"LDK378 is a strong example of our research approach, which focuses on identifying the underlying cause of disease pathways," said Alessandro Riva, global head, oncology development and medical affairs, Novartis Oncology. "This Breakthrough Therapy designation will allow us to collaborate more closely with the FDA and potentially to expedite the availability of an important new treatment option for patients with ALK+ NSCLC."
Novartis reported initial results from a phase I study investigating the maximum tolerated dose, safety, pharmacokinetics and antitumor activity of LDK378 in 88 patients with ALK+ advanced malignancies, as detected by an FDA-approved test and who had progressed during treatment with, or were intolerant to, crizotinib. The data showed marked responses in a majority of patients with ALK+ NSCLC. A response rate (including complete response [CR], partial response [PR] and unconfirmed PR) of 80% was observed in the patients who had experienced disease progression after crizotinib treatment.
Novartis has initiated two phase II clinical trials to further evaluate the compound in this patient population with plans to initiate several phase III clinical trials later this year. First regulatory filing is anticipated by early 2014.
Breakthrough Therapy designation is intended to expedite the development and review of drugs that treat serious or life-threatening conditions if the therapy has demonstrated substantial improvement over an available therapy on at least one clinically significant endpoint.