Novartis, Antisoma's ASA404 fails second late-stage lung cancer trial; development halted

Novartis and Antisoma announced Thursday that an interim analysis of data from a late-stage trial showed that "ASA404 was unlikely to provide any benefit as a second-line treatment" for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer. The Swiss drugmaker, which licensed global rights to the drug from Antisoma, indicated it would halt development of the compound, with resources being allocated to other anticancer agents in its pipeline.

The ATTRACT-2 study enrolled patients with advanced NSCLC whose disease had progressed following initial treatment with chemotherapy. The companies noted that the trial was stopped on the recommendation of an independent data monitoring committee. Antisoma CEO, Glyn Edwards, commented that "the findings from ATTRACT-2 mirror those from ATTRACT-1 and therefore come as no surprise."

In the ATTRACT-1 trial, ASA404 failed to demonstrate a survival benefit in previously untreated patients with NSCLC when used in combination with chemotherapy. Following the announcement of the results in March, Novartis said it was evaluating the overall clinical programme for the drug.

Novartis indicated it will record a related charge of $120 million in the fourth quarter of this year.

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