Exelixis, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXEL) announced positive top-line results from the primary analysis of METEOR, the phase 3 pivotal trial comparing cabozantinib to everolimus in 658 patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) who have experienced disease progression following treatment with a VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI).

The trial met its primary endpoint of demonstrating a statistically significant increase in progression-free survival (PFS) in the first 375 randomized patients as determined by an independent radiology committee (IRC). Cabozantinib reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 42 percent compared to the everolimus arm (hazard ratio [HR]=0.58, 95 percent CI 0.45-0.75, p<0.0001).

Data pertaining to overall survival (OS) in the entire study population of 658 patients, a secondary endpoint of the trial, were immature at the data cutoff. A prespecified interim analysis, triggered by the primary analysis for PFS, showed a trend in OS favoring cabozantinib (HR = 0.67, unadjusted 95 percent CI 0.51 – 0.89; p=0.005). At the time of the interim analysis, the pre-specified p-value of 0.0019 to achieve statistical significance was not reached. The trial will continue to the final analysis of OS anticipated in 2016.

METEOR’s primary analysis included a review of serious adverse event (SAE) data. Based on this analysis, the frequency of SAEs of any Grade regardless of causality was approximately balanced between study arms. The rate of treatment discontinuation due to adverse events was low (10%) in both study arms.

Detailed results of the trial will be submitted for presentation at an upcoming medical conference.

In April 2015, cabozantinib received Fast Track designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the potential treatment of advanced RCC patients who have received one prior therapy. Based on the outcome of METEOR, Exelixis plans to complete regulatory filings in the United States and European Union in early 2016.

“We are eager to offer new treatment options for patients with metastatic RCC, particularly in the second-line setting where the most commonly utilized therapies have demonstrated a uniformly modest progression-free survival benefit,” said Toni K. Choueiri, M.D., clinical director of the Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and METEOR’s principal investigator. “The magnitude of the improvement in PFS observed with cabozantinib compared to everolimus in the METEOR trial is an exciting and important development — it suggests an opportunity to improve care and outcomes for patients with metastatic RCC.”

“The positive top-line results from METEOR represent strong progress for the kidney cancer community and for Exelixis, bringing us one step closer to our shared goal of delivering a new and meaningfully differentiated therapeutic option for the many metastatic RCC patients in need,” said Michael M. Morrissey, Ph.D., the company’s president and chief executive officer. “With these data now in hand, Exelixis’ highest corporate priority becomes the submission of U.S. and EU regulatory filings, which we intend to complete in early 2016.”

Dr. Morrissey continued, “Delivering these top-line results for METEOR is one of multiple clinical development and regulatory milestones that we have planned for this year. These milestones collectively have the potential to significantly enhance the opportunities before us and bring value to the multiple stakeholders we serve. We look forward to sharing the detailed results of METEOR with the oncology community at an upcoming medical conference, and we thank all of the patients, families, investigators, and clinical staff who made the trial possible.” (Original Source)

Shares of Exelixis closed last Friday at $3.91. EXEL has a 1-year high of $4.55 and a 1-year low of $1.26. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $3.59 and its 200-day moving average is $2.87.

Exelixis Inc is a biotechnology company that develops small molecule therapies for the treatment of cancer.