Novocure (NSDQ:NVCR) shares were up 6% after hours yesterday after the company released positive data for its “tumor treating fields” combined with chemotherapy for pancreatic and ovarian cancer. The St. Helier, N.J.-based company’s TTFields are low-intensity, alternating electric fields meant to inhibit cancer cell replication and cause cell death.
Novocure presented data from its phase II pilot Panova study, evaluating TTFields in combination with chemotherapy drugs nab-paclitaxel and gemcitabine in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. The data suggested that the combination therapy may be tolerable and safe. The company also reported that patients who received TTFields and chemotherapy had an improved 1 year survival rate compared to those who received only chemotherapy.
The 2nd group of the prospective study enrolled 20 patients with pancreatic tumors that could not be removed surgically. The patients did not receive any chemotherapy or radiation therapy. This group met its primary endpoint, as there weren’t any serious adverse events related to TTFields.
“We are extremely pleased with these results,” chief science officer and head of R&D Dr. Eilon Kirson said in prepared remarks. “The results of the 2nd cohort of our Panova trial support our preclinical work that has demonstrated increased cancer cell sensitivity when TTFields therapy is combined with taxane-based chemotherapies, such as nab-paclitaxel. We are finalizing plans and are eager to begin a phase III pivotal trial in advanced pancreatic cancer.”
Novocure also presented data from its phase II pilot Innovate trial, evaluating TTFields in combination with weekly paclitaxel in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer. The data suggested that the combination is safe and patients who received TTFields with paclitaxel had more than double the rate of progression free survival and an improvement in overall survival.
“These results are promising,” Kirson said. “Recurrent ovarian cancer is a very difficult to treat disease that quickly develops resistance to multiple types of chemotherapies. We are committed to researching TTFields as a potential treatment for ovarian cancer and look forward to beginning a phase III pivotal trial.”