The prostate cancer market is dynamic, with a lot of news happening. One of the many new treatments in development worth watching is custirsen (OGX-011).
Sally Church on Pharma Strategy Blog recently wrote about Custirsen from OncoGeneX. This drug inhibits the production of clusterin, a protein associated with the development of treatment resistance. As Sally notes it is in essence a “chemo enhancer.”
Phase 3 trials with custirsen are currently underway in castrate resistant prostate cancer patients receiving docetaxel in the first and second line setting.
The potential to improve the efficacy of docetaxel may be of commercial interest as more generic versions become available. According to IMS Health, sales of generic and branded docetaxel were approximately $1.1 billion for the year from June 2010 to June 2011.
This week Sandoz entered the market with their announcement of the FDA approval and launch of their generic version of Taxotere®.
It will be interesting to see whether use of custirsen with docetaxel increases overall survival (OS) in the phase III CRPC trials, and if it does how this compares to other recently approved CRPC treatments such as Zytiga™ (abiraterone acetate).
As Sally noted in her video blog post from the annual meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA), there is also preliminary scientific data to suggest that custirsen may improve the efficacy of androgen receptor antagonists such as MDV3100 from Medivation/Astellas.
We expect there will be new data on prostate cancer new products in development at the ESMO/ECCO European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress in Stockholm in late September. The possibility of new treatment options is good news for prostate cancer patients. It is a market definitely worth watching.