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By Jessica Hodgson
LONDON--A new drug from Bayer AG (BAYN.XE), Regorafenib, could significantly increase the survival prospects of people with gastrointestinal stromal tumor, new research published in U.K. medical journal The Lancet Thursday indicates.
Survival rates for patients with metastatic bowel cancer were also improved by taking the drug, the research suggested, though not as significantly.
The research--the result of two separate trials--could boost the prospects of the drug, which Bayer has identified as one of its most significant new pipeline products.
In one trial, at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston, patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumor which was worsening were shown to have a progression-free survival time of 4.8 months after receiving a daily dose of 160mg, compared with just under a month for the placebo patients.
In a separate trial at hospitals in Belgium and Rochester, Minn., in the U.S., patients receiving a 160mg doses of the drug were shown to have a survival rate of 6.4 months, compared with 5 months for patients receiving a placebo.
In a comment piece in The Lancet, Professor David Cunningham and Dr Tom Waddell, of the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, U.K., said "the case for routine use of this drug in patients who have failed [other therapies] is strong."
Regorafenib--also known as Stivarga--is developed by Bayer and is jointly promoted by Bayer and Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ONXX) in the United States.
The U.S. Food and Drug Agency earlier this year approved the drug for treatment of patients with metastatic bowel cancer who hadn't responded to other drugs. It has given priority review status--an accelerated review timetable--to Regorafenib for use in patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumor.
Bayer said earlier this year Regorafenib was one of five key drugs it saw fuelling a peak annual sales potential of 5.5 billion euros ($7.03 billion).
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