• Mesothelioma Drug Fails in Phase II Testing
  • October 26, 2015
  • Law Firm: Waters Kraus LLP - Dallas Office
  • A mesothelioma drug that once held promise for patients and their families has failed to live up to everyone’s hope. In a phase II clinical trial, defactinib (VS-6063) proved to be no more effective than a placebo.

    Defactinib (VS-6063) Clinical Trial Ceases Enrollment

    Defactnib is manufactured by Verastem, a Boston biopharmaceutical company. Defactnib is designed to attack malignant pleural mesothelioma stem cells. The drug prevents a protein from forming that mesothelioma cells need to grow. Verastem hoped that defactinib would stop mesothelioma from recurring in patients treated with chemotherapy. Defactnib seemed promising in phase I testing.

    But that promise was not fulfilled in phase II testing. According to Robert Forrester, Verastem’s president and CEO, the phase II trial, which began in 2014, had enrolled 372 patients in 13 countries. In the United States, patients were enrolled in cancer treatment in ten states:
    • California
    • Florida
    • Illinois
    • Maryland
    • Minnesota
    • New York
    • Ohio
    • Pennsylvania
    • Tennessee
    • Texas
    The study, named Control Mesothelioma with Maintenance Defactinib (COMMAND) was planned to end in 2016.

    In the phase II trial, doctors used defactinib for mesothelioma patients with residual disease following chemotherapy. Patients reportedly experienced few side effects with defactnib, but the study showed that patients treated with defactnib did little better than those taking a placebo. The COMMAND trial ceased enrollment after an interim review by the Data Safety Monitoring Board.

    Verastem hopes to test defactnib again for mesothelioma patients in combination with other drugs to boost its effectiveness.