Roche Korea said Thursday Alecensa (ingredient: alectinib) would get cheaper this month, for patients with ALK+ non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has spread to other parts of the body after crizotinib treatment.
|Alecensa Cap. 150mg|
The insurance benefit is good news for anaplastic lymphoma kinase positive (ALK+) NSCLC patients, who have had limited choices after being treated with Pfizer’s Xalkori (ingredient: crizotinib) as a first-line therapy, the company said.
“The coverage of Alecensa will provide a broader choice of treatments and ease financial burdens [for these patients],” Korean branch’s General Manager Matt Sause said. “Roche Korea will do its best to bring more benefits to patients as we have confirmed the superior efficacy and tolerability of the drug through various studies.”
The decision to reimburse the drug was based on two phase 2 trials – NP28673 and NP28761 – that confirmed a positive objective response rate (ORR) and progression-free survival (PFS) as well as effectiveness in the central nervous system (CNS), the Korean branch said.
The trials showed Alecensa touted a 50 percent ORR and a median PFS over eight months. Subset data analysis showed CNS disease control rate reached 90 percent, indicating consistent response regardless of the previous radiotherapy. Half of the patients treated with the standard first-line therapy said their disease progressed within a year of treatment with CNS accounting for around 46 percent of the progression.
In April, the Swiss pharma giant released more good news for the drug, showing Alecensa beat out Pfizer’s Xalkori as a first-line treatment in ALK+ NSCLC patients in a head-to-head showdown for the second time this year, the company said.