Exelixis, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXEL) announced detailed results from the CABOSUN randomized phase 2 trial of cabozantinib in patients with previously untreated advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) with intermediate- or poor-risk disease per the International Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Database Consortium (IMDC). Principal investigatorToni K. Choueiri, M.D. will present detailed data from late-breaking CABOSUN abstract [#LBA30_PR] today in the Presidential Symposium 3 session, starting at 16:30 CEST(local Copenhagen time) / 10:30 a.m. EDT / 7:30 a.m. PDT at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2016, which is being held October 7 – 11, 2016 inCopenhagen.

CABOSUN was conducted by The Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology as part of Exelixis’ collaboration with the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (NCI-CTEP).

In CABOSUN, with a median follow-up of 20.8 months, cabozantinib demonstrated a clinically meaningful and statistically significant 31 percent reduction in the rate of disease progression or death [HR 0.69, 95% CI (0.48-0.99), one-sided P=0.012]. The median progression-free survival (PFS) for cabozantinib was 8.2 months versus 5.6 months for sunitinib, corresponding to a 2.6 months (46 percent) improvement favoring cabozantinib over sunitinib. PFS benefits were independent of IMDC risk group (intermediate or poor risk) and presence or absence of bone metastases at baseline. The results for sunitinib were in line with a previously published retrospective analysis of 1,174 intermediate- and poor-risk RCC patients from the IMDC database, which documented a median PFS of 5.6 months with a first-line targeted therapy, mainly sunitinib, in this patient population.1

Objective response rate (ORR) was also significantly improved, at 46 percent (95% CI 34% – 57%) for cabozantinib versus 18 percent (95% CI 10% to 28%) for sunitinib. With a median follow up of 22.8 months, median overall survival was 30.3 months for cabozantinib versus 21.8 months for sunitinib [HR 0.80, 95% CI (0.50 – 1.26)].

“The results presented today support the potential of cabozantinib to become a new therapeutic option for previously untreated patients following their diagnosis with advanced kidney cancer,” said Toni K. Choueiri, M.D., Director, Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and chair of the CABOSUN study. “Not only has cabozantinib surpassed sunitinib, the current standard of care, in progression-free survival and objective response rate, cabozantinib’s effects on progression-free survival were also consistently favorable across patient stratification subgroups including IMDC intermediate versus poor-risk groups and presence or absence of bone metastases.”

“We at the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology are pleased that CABOSUN has successfully demonstrated that cabozantinib has the potential to benefit patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma as a first-line therapy,” said Michael J. Morris, M.D., Associate Member at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Chair of the Alliance Genitourinary Committee. “We are grateful to everyone who has participated in the trial, especially the physicians, patients and their families.”

Based on these results, Exelixis plans to submit a Supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for cabozantinib as a treatment of first-line advanced renal cell carcinoma, and is working with the Alliance to transfer the complete CABOSUN clinical database toExelixis.

“The past year has seen a tremendous level of progress in the treatment of kidney cancer, and we are excited to be at the forefront of bringing these advancements to patients,” said Michael M. Morrissey, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer ofExelixis. “Patients in the first-line setting with either intermediate- or poor-risk disease progress rapidly with sunitinib, a current standard of care; therefore, there is a clear need for new options that provide improved clinical benefit in this difficult to treat patient population. To that end, based on the CABOSUN results, we are planning to submit a supplemental New Drug Application in the United States for cabozantinib as a first-line treatment for advanced renal cell carcinoma.”

CABOSUN enrolled 157 patients with previously untreated advanced RCC: 80.9 percent of patients were intermediate risk per IMDC criteria and 19.1 percent were poor risk, 36.3 percent of patients had bone metastases, 46 percent of patients had ECOG Performance Status (PS) 0, 41 percent had ECOG PS 1, and 13 percent had ECOG PS 2. All patients were included in the efficacy analyses that followed the intent-to-treat principle. Tumor assessments were performed by the investigators following RECIST criteria. At the time of the analysis of the primary endpoint of PFS, the median duration of treatment in CABOSUN was 6.9 months with cabozantinib and 2.8 months with sunitinib; 13 patients continued on cabozantinib treatment versus 2 patients on sunitinib treatment. Dose reductions occurred for 58 percent and 49 percent of patients, respectively. Discontinuation rate due to an adverse event was 20 percent with cabozantinib and 21 percent with sunitinib.

One hundred and fifty patients were evaluable for safety. Ninety-nine percent of patients on both arms experienced at least one adverse event. The most common all causality grade 3 or 4 adverse events observed in more than 5 percent of patients were hypertension (28 percent), diarrhea (10 percent), palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (8 percent), and fatigue (6 percent) in the cabozantinib arm, and hypertension (22 percent), fatigue (15 percent), diarrhea and thrombocytopenia (both 11 percent), and oral mucositis (6 percent) in the sunitinib arm. Treatment-related grade 5 events occurred in three patients in the cabozantinib arm (acute kidney injury, sepsis and jejunal perforation) and two patients in the sunitinib arm (sepsis and vascular disorder). (Original Source)

Shares of Exelixis are currently trading at $13.34, up $0.39 or 3.02%. EXEL has a 1-year high of $15.58 and a 1-year low of $3.55. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $12.63 and its 200-day moving average is $8.12.

On the ratings front, Exelixis has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on October 3, Leerink Swann analyst Michael Schmidt reiterated a Buy rating on EXEL, with a price target of $15, which represents a potential upside of 16% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on September 16, William Blair’s John Sonnier reiterated a Buy rating on the stock .

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Michael Schmidt and John Sonnier have a total average return of 23.1% and 12.3% respectively. Schmidt has a success rate of 62% and is ranked #56 out of 4183 analysts, while Sonnier has a success rate of 48% and is ranked #484.

Overall, one research analyst has assigned a Hold rating and 3 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $15.00 which is 15.8% above where the stock closed last Friday.

Exelixis, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company, which engages in the developing and commercializing small molecule therapies for the treatment of cancer. Its brands include COMETRIQ and cobimetinib. The company focuses on their proprietary resources and development and commercialization of cabozantinib.