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UK regulator recommends Eisai drug for kidney cancer patients

The U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended Eisai Co. Ltd.'s cancer drug, Kisplyx, in combination with Novartis AG's everolimus, for use within the National Health Service.

Kisplyx, or lenvatinib, plus chemotherapy drug Afinitor, or everolimus, would treat adults with advanced renal cell carcinoma who have had one previous treatment targeting VEGF, a protein involved in making blood vessels. The patients must also have an eastern cooperative oncology group performance status of zero or one, meaning they must either be able to carry on all pre-disease performance without restriction or carry out work of a light or sedentary nature.

The combination, to be provided at a discount, was found to be more cost-effective than Exelixis Inc.'s Cabometyx, or cabozantinib, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Opdivo, or nivolumab, and Pfizer Inc.'s Inlyta, or axitinib.

Cabometyx, Opdivo and Inlyta are currently the second-line treatment options available for the disease under the U.K.'s healthcare system.

Lenvatinib is also approved as a treatment for refractory thyroid cancer in over 50 countries under the brand name Lenvima.

The U.K. regulator had previously rejected lenvatinib for treating thyroid cancer since it failed the cost-effectiveness criteria.

Eisai has also submitted applications in U.S., Europe and China to market the drug as a treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer.