Novartis lung cancer drug fails another pivotal trial

Oct. 25, 2021

Novartis said its canakinumab drug has failed a pivotal lung cancer trial, missing primary endpoints in overall survival rates and the prevention of progression-free survival — marking the second phase 3 trial fail for the drug.

According to Novartis, the Canopy-1 phase 3 study did not meet its primary endpoints when treating patients with previously untreated locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer in combination with Merck’s Keytruda plus platinum-based doublet chemotherapy.

The data was yet another blow for Novartis after the drug, in combination with chemotherapy agent docetaxel, failed to improve survival in patients in the Canopy-2 phase 3 study back in March.

The Canopy study program was launched after Novartis observed significantly lower than expected rates of lung cancer mortality among patients in a phase cardiovascular trial, evaluating canakinumab as a secondary prevention measure for cardiovascular events in patients following a heart attack.

Two late-stage trial misses later, Novartis is undeterred. The drugmaker is continuing with the evaluation of canakinumab in lung cancer, and is applying findings to the overall lung cancer development plan.