Still trailing far behind a blockbuster rival, Novartis gathers another round of positive survival data for Kisqali
Just two months ago, Novartis’ team turned up at ASCO with some clearly positive improved survival rates for a group of pre-menopausal breast cancer patients taking the CDK 4/6 drug Kisqali. And now they’re back, saying they also scored in a separate trial tracking OS among another group of post-menopausal women taking the blockbuster wannabe.
We won’t hear the details on the Monaleesa-3 data until they can be rolled out later at a scientific conference, but investigators say the drug scored on the key endpoint in first-line and second-line cases. And this expands on their boast for holding the first — though no longer the only — positive survival results in the field, something Novartis oncology chief Susanne Schaffert says she’s “thrilled” to see.
The key question, though, is what’s it going to take to carve away market share from the dominant CDK 4/6 — Pfizer’s Ibrance — which hit the market several years ago. Despite flunking their survival endpoint, Pfizer reaped a $1.26 billion harvest from their franchise drug in Q2 — compared to only $111 million in relatively anemic revenue for Novartis’ drug.
Eli Lilly’s rival in the CDK 4/6 field, Verzenio, also has yet to make much of an impact, but they still came out ahead of Novartis with $133 million in Q2 revenue for the drug.
Just 2 days ago Lilly heralded its own success on the OS front with their drug, also holding back the data for a future scientific conference. And their MONARCH-2 study included pre/peri- and postmenopausal women.
Here was the bottom line for Novartis at ASCO: Kisqali combined with endocrine therapy spurred a 70.2% survival rate among pre-menopausal women with hormone receptor-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 negative (HR+/HER2-) advanced or metastatic breast cancer 42 months after treatment began. That’s significantly better — with a 27% drop in the risk of death — than the former standard of care, where 46% of patients in the Monaleesa-7 control arm were still alive.
Novartis has a powerful marketing machine, and you can expect their team will do everything they can to go after Ibrance. But Pfizer once again proves that being the first to the market is a powerful advantage.
Social image: Novartis, AP Images