Shares of Novocure (NVCR 6.17%) are skyrocketing 49.8% higher as of 10:12 a.m. ET on Thursday. The huge jump came after the company announced the results from a late-stage clinical study evaluating its Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) therapy in treating stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Novocure reported that TTFields in combination with standard therapies met the primary endpoint of the phase 3 study by achieving statistically significant improvement in overall survival compared to standard therapies alone. The company also said that overall survival rates were higher at statistically significant levels for patients who received TTFields in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors compared to those who received immune checkpoint inhibitors alone.
Healthcare stocks typically enjoy a nice bump after the announcement of positive clinical results. But the impressive size of Novocure's gain was due to the financial implications of the good news for TTFields.
The therapy has already been approved in multiple countries (including the U.S.) as a treatment for glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. It has also won U.S. approval in treating mesothelioma, a type of cancer associated with exposure to asbestos. However, NSCLC presents a much larger market opportunity. Around 193,000 diagnoses are made in the U.S. each year, nearly 15 times greater than the number of glioblastoma diagnoses.
What we don't know yet is exactly how much improvement in overall survival was demonstrated in the late-stage study of TTFields. Novocure said that it plans to release the full data at a future medical conference. It's likely that the company will focus heavily on the results at next week's J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference as well.
Regulatory submissions will be on the way soon, too. Novocure said that it expects to file for U.S. and European Union approvals in the second half of this year.