The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Takeda’s FRUZAQLA (fruquintinib), an oral targeted therapy for adults with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) who have been previously treated with fluoropyrimidine-, oxaliplatin-, and irinotecan-based chemotherapy, an anti-VEGF therapy, and, if RAS wild-type and medically appropriate, an anti-EGFR therapy.
FRUZAQLA is the first and only selective inhibitor of all three VEGF receptor kinases approved in the U.S. for previously treated mCRC regardless of biomarker status. This approval was received under Priority Review.
“There is a pressing need for new treatments for individuals with metastatic colorectal cancer, who have had limited options and continue to face poor outcomes. FRUZAQLA is the first novel chemotherapy-free treatment option approved for patients in the U.S. regardless of biomarker status in more than a decade,” said Teresa Bitetti, president of the Global Oncology Business Unit at Takeda.
“For far too long, healthcare providers and patients have had limited options when selecting a therapy for metastatic colorectal cancer. FRUZAQLA has the potential to offer a significant survival benefit to patients without negatively impacting their quality of life.”
The approval of FRUZAQLA is based on data from two large Phase 3 trials: the multi-regional FRESCO-2 trial, data from which were published in The Lancet, along with the FRESCO trial conducted in China, data from which were published in JAMA.
The trials investigated FRUZAQLA plus best supportive care versus placebo plus best supportive care in patients with previously treated mCRC. Both FRESCO and FRESCO-2 met their primary and key secondary efficacy endpoints and showed consistent benefit among a total of 734 patients treated with FRUZAQLA. Safety profiles were consistent across trials.
“Patients with metastatic disease are often fragile and fatigued – due to both their condition as well as the therapies they have been exposed to. An oral, chemotherapy-free option that offers a survival benefit despite treatment with prior therapies is a critical need for treating metastatic colorectal cancer,” said Cathy Eng, M.D., FACP, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
“Colorectal cancer is a highly heterogeneous disease, making it difficult to bring advancements to patients whose cancer has metastasized. I look forward to being able to offer a new solution to appropriate patients.”
In the United States, approximately 153,000 new cases of CRC will be diagnosed in 2023, representing 7.8% of all new cancer cases. Approximately 70% of patients with CRC will experience metastatic disease, whether at diagnosis or after treatment. Metastases are the main cause of CRC-related mortality.
The data from FRESCO and FRESCO-2 also supported the EU marketing authorization application (MAA) for fruquintinib, which was validated and accepted for review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in June 2023. A submission to the Japan Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) also took place in September 2023.