XL184 - 10 promising late-stage cancer drugs

Perhaps a drug referred to as "cabo" deserves to have its day in sun. Indeed, there are plenty of folks at Exelixis ($EXEL) who are hoping that XL184 (cabozantinib) shines in clinical trials; it's the most advanced candidate in the South San Francisco-based drug developer's pipeline.  

Exelixis says that the drug---which at the same time inhibits two molecular drivers of tumor growth, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor 2 and MET---is the most advanced treatment that targets MET. In February, the company said that a Phase II trial of the drug involving patients with prostate cancer that had spread to other organs was showing promise. For 62 men whose cancer had spread into their bones and could be evaluated with bone scans, the drug showed it had at least stabilized the cancer in all but one of them. The drug is now in six clinical trials, including a Phase III trial involving adults with medullary thyroid cancer.  

The company has been riding solo with "cabo" since Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) handed back rights to it in June 2010 after the two companies couldn't see eye-to-eye on plans to develop the drug. Exelixis CEO Michael Morrissey might get the last laugh if the drug performs as well as he hopes. Yet Bristol-Myers executives have a potential blockbuster with the firm's recently FDA-approved skin cancer drug, Yervoy (ipilimumab), so they're probably not fretting about much these days.

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