LONDON (Reuters) – Lung cancer patients in England will become the first in Europe to receive a drug made by U.S. biotech Amgen Inc that targets a specific gene mutation, the country’s health service said on Friday.
NHS England said it was fast-tracking lung cancer drug sotorasib after it was shown in clinical trials to stop lung cancer progression for seven months.
The drug, taken as a tablet, will be used on patients with the KRAS G12C mutation that occurs in about 13% of non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC), the most common type of lung cancer.
The early-access deal will see 600 patients a year receive sotorasib in England through the state-run National Health Service (NHS).
“This revolutionary treatment has taken decades of research to reach the clinic, and now that it is here this new targeted drug will be available for eligible people with lung cancer as quickly as possible thanks to this agreement,” said Peter Johnson, NHS clinical director for cancer.
Charles Swanton, chief clinician at charity Cancer Research UK, said the drug was “one of the most exciting breakthroughs in lung cancer treatment in 20 years, targeting a cancer gene that was previously untargetable.”
The use of sotorasib in Britain follows its accelerated approval in May in the United States for lung cancer patients with the KRAS G12C mutation whose disease has worsened after treatment with chemotherapy or other medicines. It is sold in the United States under the brand name Lumakras.
Britain’s medicine regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has authorised the drug under a partnership with U.S. and Australian counterparts designed to speed up approval for promising cancer treatments, called Orbis.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Bill Berkrot)