Novartis fails to meet primary endpoint with CANOPY-1 Trial

Pharma giant’s attempt at repurposing the rare disease drug in lung cancer suffers a second setback.

On Monday, the multinational Swiss company, Novartis announced that its Phase III CANOPY-1 trial failed to meet its primary endpoint. Novartis was attempting to repurpose canakinumab, a rare disease drug for the treatment of lung cancer. The drug was tested in participants whose lung cancer had advanced after chemotherapy as well as immunotherapy as a first-line treatment. The attempt however failed as the drug was not able to increase the participant’s overall survival (OS) or progression-free survival. These results were an added setback to the company after their CANOPY-2 Phase III trial also failed to meet its primary endpoints earlier in the year. The CANOPY-2 Phase III trial which also utilised canakinumab as a second- or third-line treatment showed the drug was unable to increase OS.

Nevertheless, Novartis is planning to continue research to test if canakinumab is effective as a pre- and post-surgery treatment. The head of Global Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer at Novartis, John Tsai stated, "CANOPY-1 provides critical insights into the treatment of this devastating disease, and we will continue to analyse the data and conclusions, as well as their potential clinical implications." Though the drug has struggled to make its stride in lung cancer treatment, the company is working on two additional studies. The CANOPY-A is evaluating canakinumab as an adjuvant therapy while the CANOPY-N trial will be testing the drug as a neoadjuvant therapy. All hope is not lost for the pharma giant as the company aims to continue their research and generate key data pertaining to lung cancer treatment.