Pfizer has filed axitinib with regulators in Europe to treat patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma after failure of prior systemic treatment.

Axitinib is an oral drug which inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor  receptors 1, 2 and 3, which can influence the spread and growth of tumours. The submission to the European Medicines Agency is based on Phase III data from the AXIS 1032 trial, the full results for which will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago (June 3-7).

Garry Nicholson, head of the Pfizer Oncology Business Unit, noted that while the prognosis for patients with advanced RCC "has improved dramatically over the past five years thanks to the availability of new treatments, there is still a need for new options". The company already has two kidney cancer treatments on the market - Sutent (sunitinib) and Torisel (temsirolimus).

Axitinib is in another Phase III trial in patients with treatment-naive as well as previously-treated advanced RCC, and in Phase II for hepatocellular carcinoma.

Neuronton lawsuit with Teva settled

Meantime, Pfizer has settled a lawsuit in the USA with Teva concerning the latter's generic versions of the epilepsy treatment Neurontin (gabapentin). Under the terms of the settlement, the financial terms of which were not disclosed, the Israeli drugmaker and associates can continue selling their versions through a licence from Pfizer.

The drugs giant had previously argued that Teva's version infringed a patent related to the manufacturing of Neurontin that is not due to expire until 2017.