The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published draft guidelines backing use of EUSA Pharma’s Fotivda as a first-line treatment option for advanced renal cell carcinoma.

The drug, which won approval in Europe in August last year, is an oral, once-daily, potent selective vascular endothelial growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (VEGFR-TKI) that works by reducing the supply of blood to the tumour to deny it food and oxygen.

In clinical trials, patients treated with Fotivda (tivozanib) experienced superior progression free survival - 11.9 versus 9.1 months in the overall population and 12.7 versus 9.1 months in treatment naïve patients - versus Bayer’s Nexavar (sorafenib).

The drug also scored better on side effects, with only 14 percent versus 43 percent of patients taking Nexavar requiring a dose reduction due to adverse events, EUSA noted.

Commenting on NICE’s decision, Dr Lisa Pickering, consultant medical oncologist at St George’s Hospital, in London, said it is “excellent news” for kidney cacner patients.

“A key treatment goal is to enable patients to live without their cancer progressing for longer periods of time – we cannot cure their cancer but we can help to preserve normal living for as long as possible. That is why I’m delighted that NICE has recommended tivozanib as a treatment option.”

EUSA licensed certain rights to the drug from US group AVEO Oncology in 2015.