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Eisai cancer drug performs in sarcoma disease

Published on 26/02/15 at 07:53am
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Eisai’s cancer drug Halaven met its primary endpoint and demonstrated overall survival benefit in two distinct solid tumour types in a recent Phase III clinical trial.

The Japanese company’s injectable non-taxane, microtubule dynamics inhibitor Halaven (eribulin) showed health benefits in patients with soft tissue sarcomas, a rare form of malignant tumour.

The 452-patient strong study compared the efficacy and safety of the treatment to dacarbazin, a drug also used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma – a rare cancer of the lymphatic system.

The therapy is a natural product isolated from the marine sponge Halichondria okadai, it applies its anticancer properties by triggering apoptosis of cancer cells and works by inhibiting cancer cell growth.

According to the firm no other systemic treatment for locally advanced or metastatic soft tissue sarcoma has been reported to extend overall survival in a Phase III study.

The sea sponge derived inhibitor was approved by European Regulators to treat patients with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer back in 2011, and was launched in the UK the same year.

Halaven has already been designated as an orphan drug for soft tissue sarcoma in the US and Japan. Currently management of the disease is focussed on curative surgery, but if the degree of malignancy is high, treatment then becomes a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Approximately 12,000 patients are diagnosed with the rare form of malignant tumour each year in the US. In Europe, soft tissue sarcoma affects an estimated four to five out of every 100,000 people.

Facility expansion

Additionally Eisai has also announced that its Chinese division is to build a new oral solid dose production facility at the Suzhou Industrial Park in Singapore.

The new 20,900 sq.m facility will handle the manufacturing and packaging of oral solid dose products for the emerging Chinese market. Construction of the plant is expected to be completed by 2017 with operations to commence in the second half of 2018.

In the meantime Eisai intends to submit applications for Halaven during the first half fiscal 2015 to regulatory authorities in Japan, the US and Europe seeking an expansion of the indication to include soft tissue sarcoma.

Tom Robinson

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