Europe backs nuclear medicine for cancer that killed Steve Jobs

Reuters




LONDON, July 21 (Reuters) - A nuclear medicine targeting the
type of cancer that killed Steve Jobs won a green light from EU
regulators on Friday, boosting prospects for its developer
Advanced Accelerator Applications <AAAP.O>.
    The European Medicines Agency said its Committee for
Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) had recommended the
product, Lutathera, in a move setting the stage for full
approval within a couple of months.
    The French biotech company has described the new drug as a
"multi-hundred million" dollar opportunity, with the potential
to transform its fortunes.
    AAA, which was spun off from Europe's physics research
centre CERN 15 years ago and is listed on Nasdaq, had sales from
existing diagnostic products of $34.9 million in the first
quarter of 2017.
    Lutathera is unusual in harnessing the same molecule that is
already used to diagnose cancer to also deliver treatment.
    The radiopharmaceutical works by hitting cancer cells with
high energy electrons, just like radiotherapy, but the injection
targets gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (NETs)
that over-express a certain protein.
    It has shown impressive results in clinical tests against a
disease associated with very poor survival, and one that killed
Apple <AAPL.O> co-founder Jobs in 2011.
    The path to market, however, has not been easy for the
drugmaker, due to technical problems with the drug's filing at
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a slower than
initially hoped approval timetable in Europe.
    In a Phase III clinical trial, results of which were
reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in January,
Lutathera reduced the risk of disease progression compared to
standard care by 80 percent.
    That compares favourably with existing NETs drugs such as
Novartis' <NOVN.S> Afinitor and Pfizer's <PFE.N> Sutent.

 (Reporting by Ben Hirschler)
 ((ben.hirschler@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7542 5082; Reuters
Messaging: ben.hirschler.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: HEALTH CANCER/AAA






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