GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) said Monday it is starting a late-stage clinical trial that will study breast cancer pill Tykerb in the treatment of early breast cancer.
The pill, known as Tyverb in Europe, is currently prescribed to treat advanced breast cancer in combination with another cancer drug, but is not yet approved to treat early breast cancer.
The trial is being carried out in cooperation with the Breast International Group, an academic network focused on breast cancer research.
Launched in the U.S. in March last year and currently awaiting final approval in Europe to treat advanced-stage breast cancer patients, Tykerb reported sales of GBP51 million in 2007.
However, analysts say the drug has the potential to turn into a blockbuster product in the next decade once it becomes more widely used to treat earlier-stage breast cancer.
Based on recent studies, the drug has also shown promise in the treament of patients whose tumor has spread to the brain.
The phase III trial will study the rate at which cancer cells disappear in the breast following treatment with Tykerb, Roche Holding AG's (RHHBY) Herceptin and a combination of both drugs before surgery in women with early stage HER2-positive breast cancer. This is a particularly aggressive form of breast tumors affecting around 25% of all breast cancer patients.