Novartis’s Zykadia drug performed well against a rare form of lung cancer, the Swiss company said on Friday, citing a study it hopes will help it win expanded regulatory approval for the use of the drug.

The company released results of a phase III clinical trial of Zykadia, or ceritinib, on previously untreated patients with advanced anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive (ALK+) non-small cell lung cancer. Patients treated with Zykadia showed a significant improvement in their chances of surviving without the cancer spreading compared with standard chemotherapy, the firm said.

However, in May, Roche released study results showing its Alecensa drug demonstrated a 66%¬†reduction in risk of progression of ALK+ non-small cell lung cancer compared with Pfizer’s crizotinib that is now the standard initial treatment for the disease.

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