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New PARP inhibitor hits UK market, offering distinct advantage

Published on 18/12/17 at 09:27am

Tesaro’s Zejula has been launched in the UK but availability on the NHS has still not been decided. The PARP inhibitor will be made available through private health insurance based on strong data revealed in recent clinical trials.

The data showed that the drug was able to boost progression-free survival in both patients with the BRCA mutation (BRCA1 or BRCA2) and also in patients who did not display the gene mutation.

In total, patient with either BRCA mutation were shown to have a 73% reduce risk of disease progression or death and in those without by 55%.

Treatment with Zejula saw patients with the BRCA mutation achieved 22 months without disease recurrence, compared to just 5.5 months in those receiving placebo. In patients who did not possess the mutations, time until recurrence was found to be extended from 3.9 months, in those taking the placebo, to 9.3 months.

This treatment has a distinct advantage over current market leader, AstraZeneca’s Lynparza, because of its European approval for its use in those with and without the BRCA mutation. The European Commission has yet to give AZ this expanded approval, allowing Zejula to scoop up a greater portion of the market in Europe.

It has already managed to make some headway by gaining approval for the treatment of women with recurrent ovarian cancer in Germany.

“As we continue to globalize our mission, we remain committed to enabling access to this important therapy for patients who have completed platinum-based chemotherapy and have limited treatment options. In the US, where Zejula has been approved since March, it is the most frequently prescribed PARP inhibitor for patients with ovarian cancer,” said Orlando Oliveira, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Tesaro International. “The introductions of Zejula in Germany and the UK are significant milestones for Tesaro as we bring transformative therapies to patients with cancer around the globe. With two approved products in Europe, we are working quickly to make our medicines available in the 17 European countries where we have a direct presence.”

Tesaro’s progress could be hindered, however, as soon as an expanded approval is made for Lynparza. Given that the treatment received approval by the FDA back in August, it looks likely that this will be the case – although Zejula still has the advantage of being a once-daily oral treatment, compared with Lynparza needing to be taken four times daily in two-pill doses.

The next step for Zejula is to go in-front of NICE to determine whether the treatment is cost-effective enough to be covered by the NHS and provided to the wider population.

Ben Hargreaves

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