June 16, 2024

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About 61% patients taking Lorbrena had no disease progression after five years, according to new trial data.
Image: Johanna Geron (Reuters)

Pharma giant Pfizer said that its lung cancer drug Lorbrena could reach blockbuster status by 2030 after new data showed the drug helped patients survive five years without their cancer getting worse.

On Friday, at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago, Pfizer released follow-up data from its phase 3 CROWN trial of Lorbrena, a treatment for a rare form of lung cancer characterized by a gene mutation known as anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK).

According to the data, 61% of patients taking Lorbrena had no disease progression after five years, while only 8% of patients taking Pfizer’s older drug Xalkori were alive five years later with no disease progression.

The data also showed that Lorbrena reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 81% compared with Xalkori.

“These results from the CROWN trial are unprecedented, as the majority of patients on Lorbrena are living beyond five years without disease progression,” said Roger Dansey, Pfizer’s chief development officer of oncology, in a press release.

Pfizer’s Chief Oncology Officer Chris Boshoff told Reuters on Friday that the drug could be a “blockbuster opportunity for Pfizer.”

He said that with “increased uptake, increased market penetration, longer duration of treatment, many more patients tested” for ALK mutations, Lorbrena could reach $1 billion in annual sales.

Earlier this year, the company said its cancer division would have at least eight blockbuster drugs by 2030.

The news comes as Pfizer as sales of Pfizer’s blockbuster COVID-19 vaccine continue to dwindle. In 2021 and 2022, Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine — branded as Comirnaty— was the top selling drug in the world with sales reaching a high of $37.8 billion in 2022. As demand for the jab fell in 2023, sales of Comirnaty plunged last year by 70% to $11.2 billion.

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