Fotivda approved in Scotland for kidney cancer

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has recommended regular NHS funding for EUSA Pharma’s kidney cancer drug Fotivda, enabling around 165 patients a year to access the treatment.

NICE said Fotivda can be funded by the NHS in England in February this year, following its approval by the European Medicines Agency in August 2017.

The daily pill is used as a first-line treatment for people with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Fotivda works by inhibiting the formation of new blood vessels that tumours need to grow. It kept this cancer from progressing for almost a year in its pivotal clinical trial.

Rob Jones, professor of Clinical Cancer Research at the University of Glasgow said: “The treatment of patients with this type of kidney cancer once it has spread has changed dramatically in the past 10 years.”

“Although medicines currently do not offer a cure, they do now offer hope and the chance to live with the disease for many years in certain cases.”

“Tivozanib has been shown to delay deterioration in some patients with incurable kidney cancer, and to have a different side-effect profile which may provide an alternative treatment option for some patients who are starting treatment for the first time.”

RCC is one of the top ten most commonly diagnosed cancers in Scotland. Nearly a thousand patients have been diagnosed with this condition with over 400 fatal cases just in 2016.

Karen McNee, principal for Kidney Cancer Scotland, added: “Today’s positive decision from the SMC has the potential to help hundreds of people across Scotland living with kidney cancer and give them and their families hope for the future.”

“Our hope is that this is just the start of more good news to come in the fight against kidney cancer in Scotland.”

Fotivda is developed and sold by the UK based EUSA Pharma, formed in 2015 as a spin out of Jazz Pharmaceuticals. The company already has neuroblastoma treatment Qarziba on the market.

The newly approved drug will have to also compete against Pfizer’s Sutent and Novartis’ Votrient in the first line indication.

In England, NICE is due to publish final draft guidance on Qarziba (dinutuximab beta) this week.

In its first draft NICE said Qarziba was too expensive for regular NHS funding, but could be reimbursed on an interim basis by the Cancer Drugs Fund if EUSA Pharma drops its price.

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