The Swiss Big Pharma Novartis (NYSE:NVS) announced that the anti-PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor tislelizumab with chemotherapy improved overall survival in patients with advanced, recurrent or metastatic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) in a Phase 3 study.
The RATIONALE 306 trial of tislelizumab and chemotherapy met its primary endpoint at interim analysis. The study pitted the combination therapy against chemotherapy as a monotherapy.
Novartis noted that the study focusing on first-line ESCC follows on the heels of FDA and EMA accepting tislelizumab in a second-line context.
The company is optimistic that the drug could treat a variety of solid tumors.
To date, tislelizumab has been the subject of more than 200 clinical studies.
Novartis licensed rights to the drug from BeiGene in February 2021 for $650 million upfront plus another $1.55 billion in potential milestone payments.
The Swiss company noted that it would collab…