Eisai Company, Ltd.'s Farletuzumab Fails Ovarian Cancer Trial
Published: Jan 15, 2013
The FAR-131 trial of farletuzumab – developed by Eisai's US subsidiary Morphotek – showed that the drug was unable to improve progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with platinum-sensitive epithelial ovarian cancer who had suffered a first relapse. In the 1,100-patient study, farletuzumab at two doses or placebo were added to a background regimen of carboplatin and a taxane drug such as paclitaxel, which is the standard treatment regimen for this type of cancer. While the trial missed its primary endpoint, an analysis carried out after the end of the study showed that there was a trend towards improved PFS among some patients treated with farletuzumab. Eisai needs to bring new products to market to help it cope with the loss of patent protection in the last couple of years on two blockbuster products: Alzheimer's disease treatment Aricept (donepezil) and gastrointestinal drug Aciphex (pantoprazole). The Japanese pharma company had some success last year when partner Arena won approval in the US for obesity drug Belviq (lorcaserin), while Eisai also started to roll out new epilepsy drug Fycompa (perampanel) around the world. Both of these drugs have been tipped as potential blockbusters with $1bn-plus in annual sales.