Novocure eyes a much bigger market

Snippets

In February Novocure admitted that data from some of the clinical trials of its electric field-based cancer device would emerge later than expected. Today it seems the opposite might occur: the pivotal Lunar trial, assessing the Optune Lua technology in stage 4 platinum-resistant non-small cell lung cancer, looks as if it will be stopped early for efficacy. The study is comparing Optune Lua plus checkpoint inhibitors or docetaxel with the same drug regimen alone. An independent data monitoring committee has told Novocure that that it is “likely unnecessary and perhaps even unethical” for patients to be randomised into Lunar’s control arm. Neither is there a need to enrol the current target of 534 patients with 18 months’ follow-up; the DMC said around 276 patients, with a year’s follow-up, ought to provide sufficient power for Lunar’s endpoints. 210 had been enrolled by February, so final data could come next year, a year earlier than expected. Optune Lua is approved for mesothelioma, but NSCLC is a vastly larger market. Novocure’s share price rose 46% to an all-time high of $193 in early trade, giving the group a market cap of $21.5bn.

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