Novocure Crashes 32% As Critics Question Its 'Profound' Impact In Lung Cancer Treatment

The device, Optune, is used to treat lung cancer patients and extends their overall survival by more than three months.

Novocure Crashes 32% As Critics Question Its 'Profound' Impact In Lung Cancer Treatment

The test results for a Novocure device (NVCR) showed that it extended the overall survival of lung cancer patients. However, the NVCR stock fell on Tuesday due to the ambiguous results.

Novocure produces Optune, an electrical field-delivery skin patch designed to stop the rapid division of cancerous cells. Optune was added to standard treatments for lung cancer patients, and extended their overall survival by an average of 3.3 month.

The company described a "profound benefit" in patients treated with a checkpoint-inhibitor, such as Merck's (MRK), Keytruda, or Bristol Myers Squibb's (BMY), Opdivo. These patients lived 7.7 months longer on average than those who were treated only with checkpoint inhibitors.

Ticiana leal, the primary investigator, called the results "highly promising." Leal is an Emory University researcher and medical oncologist.

Critics note that Novocure used Optune on patients whose condition worsened after chemotherapy. This is no longer standard care for lung cancer. Most patients first receive checkpoint inhibitors.

NVCR's stock fell 31.7% in morning trading on the stock market today, near 56.40.

NVCR Stock Expands Novocure’s Market

Optune has already been approved for the treatment of a type of brain cancer. Novocure would see a significant increase in its market if it were approved for non-small cell lung carcinoma.

Optune was added to standard therapy in patients that lived a median survival of 13.2 month compared to 9.9 months among those who only received standard therapies. Optune combined with checkpoint inhibitors resulted in a median survival time of 18.5 month. Patients who were given checkpoint-blocking medications only survived at median 10.8 months.

Novocure tested Optune in combination with chemotherapy. These patients had a median life expectancy of 11.1 months, compared to 8.7 months with chemotherapy alone.

The stock of NVCR was a lot more negative when examining the progression-free life. The progression-free survival is the time that patients can live with their cancer treatment before it worsens. Optune added to standard drugs increased progression-free life to 4.8 months, compared to 4.1 months with standard drugs alone. reports a 50-day moving median.