An independent data monitoring committee (DMC) informed Novocure that an interim analysis for the study would be accelerated after data from 210 patients showed no evidence of increased systemic toxicity.
Moreover, the DMC said it was likely "unnecessary and possibly unethical" to enroll the prior target number of patients into the control group and recommended a reduced timeline for the clinical trial.
The study is designed to evaluate Novocure's Tumor Treating Fields, or TTFields, which are electric fields that could potentially disrupt cancer cell division while leaving healthy cells largely unaffected. The trial's primary endpoint is superior overall survival among patients who are treated with TTFields in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors or docetaxel -- two commonly used lung cancer treatments -- versus these treatments alone.
"We are very pleased with the DMC recommendations, which we believe support the potential for TTFields to make a significant difference in treatment outcomes for patients with non-small cell lung cancer, whether used together with immune checkpoint inhibitors or docetaxel," Novocure Executive Chairman William Doyle said in a press release. "The accelerated interim analysis with an encouraging outcome adds to the accumulating evidence of Tumor Treating Fields' broad potential across a range of hard-to-treat cancers."
Roughly 193,000 people are diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer each year in the U.S. alone. If TTFields can help to improve healthcare outcomes for these patients, Novocure could see tremendous demand for its lung cancer treatments. Investors know this, which is why they bid up Novocure's stock price so sharply today.