Exelixis liver cancer drug meets late-stage goal, shares jump

Doctors RTR FBN

Oct 16 (Reuters) - Exelixis Inc. (NASDAQ:EXEL) said on Monday its drug to treat patients with a type of liver cancer met the main goal in a late stage study, sending its shares up 19 percent in premarket trading.

The drug, cabozantinib, showed statistically significant improvement in overall survival in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma patients who had been previously treated with Bayer AG and Amgen's sorafenib, compared with a placebo.

Exelixis plans to file for an expanded label for the drug with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the first quarter of 2018.

The drug, sold under the brand name Cabometyx, is currently used in treating kidney cancer.

Exelixis and France's Ipsen jointly announced a licensing agreement last year for the commercialization and further development of the drug outside the United States, Canada and Japan.

Hepatocellular carcinoma liver cancer is the third-leading cause of death worldwide, making up about three-fourths of the nearly 41,000 cases that will be diagnosed in 2017 in the United States, the company said.

The drugmaker's shares were up 18.74 percent at $29.4 in premarket trading on Monday. (Reporting by Akankshita Mukhopadhyay in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)