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Takeda drops prostate cancer drug in phase III

Suffers another late-stage pipeline blow as orteronel disappoints

TakedaTakeda has suffered another blow to its late-stage pipeline after calling time on orteronel (TAK-700) for prostate cancer after disappointing phase III data.  

The Japanese pharma company said it decided to discontinue the programme in metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) after deciding that orteronel's clinical profile was not "sufficient to move forward … given the availability of other therapies".  

The results of two phase III trials indicated that, while orteronel given in combination with prednisone was able to extend the time patients lived before their cancer progressed, the treatment did not extend overall survival in these patients.  

Orteronel was developed by Takeda's Millennium cancer subsidiary and acts as a CYP17 inhibitor, blocking the production of androgen hormones in the testes and adrenal glands.  

Takeda has clearly decided that orteronel is not going to be able to compete effectively in the CRPC sector against recently-launched drugs such as Johnson & Johnson's rival CYP17 inhibitor Zytiga (abiraterone acetate), which brought in revenues of $1.7bn last year, and Astellas/Medivation's fast-growing Xtandi (enzalutamide) which pulled in almost $400m last year.  

A recent report by Decision Resources suggested Zytiga and Xtandi will account for around 80 per cent of total sales in the CRPC sector in 2022, with Xtandi leading the market with $3bn a year in revenues.  

The demise of orteronel is the second late-stage disappointment for Takeda in a week, coming shortly after the company finally pulled the plug on anaemia treatment Omontys (peginasetide) after serious side effect issues emerged last year.  

The Japanese company also dropped diabetes candidate fasiglifam earlier this year, but it has a good crop of other products at, or nearing, commercialisation. These include the recently-approved Entyvio (vedolizumab) for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, ixazomib (MLN9708) for multiple myeloma and alisertib (MLN8237) for peripheral T cell lymphoma.

Article by
Phil Taylor

20th June 2014

From: Research

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