Exelixis liver cancer drug meets late-stage goal, shares jump

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Oct 16 (Reuters) – Exelixis Inc. (EXEL) said on Monday its drug to treat patients with a type of liver cancer met the main goal in a late stage study, sending its shares up 19 percent in premarket trading.

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The drug, cabozantinib, showed statistically significant improvement in overall survival in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma patients who had been previously treated with Bayer AG and Amgen’s sorafenib, compared with a placebo.

Exelixis plans to file for an expanded label for the drug with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the first quarter of 2018.

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The drug, sold under the brand name Cabometyx, is currently used in treating kidney cancer.

Exelixis and France’s Ipsen jointly announced a licensing agreement last year for the commercialization and further development of the drug outside the United States, Canada and Japan.

Hepatocellular carcinoma liver cancer is the third-leading cause of death worldwide, making up about three-fourths of the nearly 41,000 cases that will be diagnosed in 2017 in the United States, the company said.

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The drugmaker’s shares were up 18.74 percent at $29.4 in premarket trading on Monday. (Reporting by Akankshita Mukhopadhyay in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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