Pharmaceutical company Incyte Corporation (INCY) released very positive news on Aug. 21, revealing that their pancreatic cancer treatment drug ruxolitinib, marketed under the trade name Jakafi, had performed very well in Phase II trials, and that the drug could now move on to Phase III.
Incyte Executive Vice President Richard S. Levy pointed out that sufferers from advanced pancreatic cancer currently have very few options. If approved, the orally-administered drug would be one of the first on the market that exists as "an attractive treatment option" for sufferers of pancreatic cancer.
If approved by the FDA, this would be a major breakthrough. Metastatic pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of any form of cancer. Currently, less than one percent of people afflicted survive more than five years.
Jakafi's ability to increase lifespan for sufferers looks very promising. In the Phase II trials, the six month survival rate for patients (when coupled with chemotherapy treatment) for Jakafi was 42 percent, compared to 11 percent for patients on a placebo.
Jakafi was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2011 to treat a bone marrow disease. After its success in that arena, the company specualted that the drug might effectively treat other types of cancer as well. Now, the drug is fast aproaching approval to treat pancreatic cancer as well. Though it is currently the only drug the company has gotten passed by the USFDA. Jakafi seems to be fulfilling early analyst speculation that it could be a billion dollar blockbuster drug for the Delaware-based drug maker.
Incyte earned $54.1 million from sales of Jakafi in the second quarter of 2013, and expects to earn between $220 and $230 million total this year.
Incyte rocketed on the news, and went up 29.19 percent to hit $34.88 a share. They’re up 58.82 percent on the year.