Survey reveals high interest in Xalkori among medical oncologists

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According to survey results gathered from 80 Medical Oncologists in the United States there is an extreme interest in Xalkori, with 75% of respondents stating a high interest in prescribing the product, virtually no physicians stating they have low interest in prescribing the therapy.

In order to prescribe the drug the patient must be positive for anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive genetic rearrangement. Despite reportedly testing nearly half of their advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, under a quarter of respondents have prescribed the drug after a month and half on the market. It should be noted that the ALK-positive gene abnormality is positive in approximately 4-5% of advanced NSCLC patients.

In the next six months, surveyed Medical Oncologists report that they expect to test close to two-thirds of their advanced NSCLC patients which will make it comparable to the number of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tests that are completed to screen patients for other targeted therapies (e.g. Tarceva) in NSCLC. Only 2% of respondents stated that they will not be able to provide the ALK translocation testing. The uptake of ALK testing and Xalkori (crizotinib) prescribing will be tracked in future waves of research to measure growth rates.

Medical Oncologists did report issues with having enough tissue samples for ALK testing which delays proper patient screening and they often have to request additional tumor biopsies, so improvements in ALK testing is desired. The majority of Medical Oncologists report that they will be testing all of their advanced NSCLC patients for ALK translocations. For those that test specific patient types, adenocarcinoma, non-smoker / low smoker, and EGFR negative mutation are the leading characteristics for deciding to test NSCLC patients.

In terms of level of interest in late stage new products in development for advanced NSCLC, Oncologists were most interested in Celgene's Abraxane (nano particle albumin-bound paclitaxel), Bayer Healthcare / Onyx Pharmaceutical's Nexavar (sorafenib) and Sanofi's iniparib (BSI-201). These products are not expected to compete directly with Xalkori because it will be reserved for ALK-positive NSCLC patients.

LaunchTrends®: Xalkori is a series of three post-launch syndicated reports designed to track the uptake of Xalkori following its commercial availability. The first wave of research, measures Xalkori's market impact at six weeks post-launch, BioTrends surveyed 80 Medical Oncologists and conducted qualitative interviews with a subset of 20 of the respondents in October 2011. BioTrends will continue to track the uptake of Xalkori in two subsequent waves in this report series which will be fielded in April 2012 and October 2012.

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