Exelixis prostate cancer drug falls flat in trials, prompts massive layoffs
- Cabozantanib did not increase overall survival (OS) in men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC).
- Exelisis is reducing its workforce by 160 people, leaving just 70 people on staff -- a reduction of 70%.
- In a phase III trial, median OS of patients treated with cabozantanib was 11 months, compared with 9.8 months for prednisone-treated patients -- a statistically insignificant difference.
In the current climate, an increase of barely more than one month of OS does not represent value or a truly improved medical outcome for patients with mCRPC. Therefore, Exelisis has abandoned its research in this area, including its trial on pain palliation.
Instead, the company will refocus its efforts towards evaluating the use of cabozantanib for the treatment of advanced liver and kidney cancers. Results from the kidney trial should be available at some point in 2015. In the meantime, Exelisis will take a charge of up to $8 million in connection with the workforce reduction.