Novocure (NSDQ:NVCR) shares were up this morning after the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare agreed to reimburse for Optune as a treatment for newly-diagnosed glioblastoma.
The Optune device delivers low-intensity, intermediate frequency, alternating electric fields, called “Tumor Treating Fields,” to inhibit cancer cell replication. As a treatment for newly-diagnosed glioblastoma, Novocure combines its device with the anti-cancer drug temozolomide.
“Today marks an important milestone for Novocure in Japan,” Shungo Matori, Novocure’s GM for Japan, said in prepared remarks. “With reimbursement established, we will now turn our attention toward adoption of Optune in Japan.”
Novocure’s pivotal Phase III EF-14 trial compared the Optune-temozolomide combination to temozolomide alone in 695 patients with newly-diagnosed GBM. The study found that patients treated with Optune and temozolomide had a significant extension of overall survival, without added systemic toxicity, compared to patients treated with just temozolomide.
The data also showed that patients in the Optune group maintained their quality of life for a longer period of time compared to patients in the temozolomide alone.
Japan is the largest medical device market in which Novocure has landed government reimbursement for Optune as a therapy for newly-diagnosed GBM, the company said.
“Reimbursement in Japan demonstrates our dedication to expanding the geographic reach of our therapy and the acceptance of our therapy by an international government agency as a treatment that has been proven to extend survival in newly diagnosed GBM,” CEO Asaf Danziger added. “We remain committed to making our therapy available to all cancer patients who may benefit throughout the world.”
NVCR shares were trading at $19.70 apiece in mid-afternoon activity today, up 2.3%.
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