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Inside Exelixis’s Robust Growth Strategy for Cabometyx

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Apr. 27 2017, Updated 2:37 p.m. ET

First-line RCC opportunity

Exelixis (EXEL) is now developing a strong sales team to support the commercial launch of Cabometyx for indications like first-line RCC (renal cell carcinoma) and second-line HCC (hepatocellular carcinoma).

In its Phase 2 Cabosun trial, Cabometyx has managed to demonstrate superiority over Sutent as a first-line therapy for poor or intermediate risk RCC patients in terms of metrics like PFS (progression free survival), ORR (objective response rate), and OS (overall survival).

Combined with data sets and imaging scans obtained from Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology sites, this initiative is expected to help Exelixis file an sNDA (supplemental new drug application) for Cabometyx as a first-line RCC therapy in 3Q17.

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Growth strategy for Cabometyx

To boost demand for Cabometyx in the second-line RCC segment, Exelixis plans to boost the prescriber base for the drug and improve utilization from current prescribers. The company also plans to promote the advantages of using Cabometyx instead of competing drugs such as Pfizer’s (PFE) Inlyta and Sutent, Novartis’ (NVS) Afinitor, and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY) Opdivo.

Exelixis is also witnessing a gradual improvement in the duration of therapy with Cabometyx, based on drug refill rates and persistence rates. This parameter is expected to keep improving, as the drug is being used more and more in the second-line RCC space rather than in later lines of treatment.

Notably, the Vanguard Small-Cap Growth ETF (VBK) has about 0.42% of its total portfolio holdings in Exelixis.

In the next and final part of this series, we’ll examine Exelixis’s research and development strategy for Cabometyx.

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