The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), UK has approved Clovis Oncology’s ovarian cancer drug rucaparib (Rubraca) for use within the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

The drug will be for use in adults with relapsed ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer who previously responded to platinum-based chemotherapy.

Rubraca is an oral, small molecule PARP1, PARP2 and PARP3 inhibitor. It slows cancer progression by preventing the repair of cancer cells, impacting the tumour’s growth.

NICE said that approximately 1,350 patients in England could benefit from the drug.

NICE centre for health technology evaluation director Meindert Boysen said: “Rucaparib offers patients a new treatment option to help prevent cancer growth, delaying the need for further chemotherapy and the associated side-effects.

“We’re, therefore, pleased with the positive response from the company that has led to rucaparib being approved for use in the Cancer Drugs Fund. This will allow patients to access the treatment immediately, while more evidence can be collected on its overall survival benefit.”

Previously, NICE rejected rucaparib for routine use on the National Health Service (NHS) due to uncertainties in the evidence and price concerns.

According to data from clinical trials, the drug prevents cancer progression by a median of 10.8 months, compared to 5.4 months in the placebo group. However, NICE noted the lack of evidence on the overall extended life expectancy offered by the medicine.

Clovis Oncology later proposed a commercial arrangement with an alternative price and NICE believes that positive long-term overall survival data could make the drug a cost-effective use of NHS resources.

The inclusion in the CDF will enable the collection of long-term data for the drug.

In July, NICE approved AstraZeneca’s olaparib for first-line maintenance treatment of epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancers.