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Takeda Receives U.S. FDA Approval of FRUZAQLA™ (fruquintinib) for Previously Treated Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

FRUZAQLA is the First Targeted Therapy Approved for Metastatic Colorectal Cancer (mCRC) Regardless of Biomarker Status or Prior Types of Therapies in More Than a Decade

FRUZAQLA Plus Best Supportive Care Demonstrated Significant Improvements in Overall Survival, with Corresponding Improvements in Progression Free Survival, Versus Placebo Plus Best Supportive Care in Two Phase 3 Clinical Trials

FRUZAQLA Demonstrated a Manageable Safety Profile in Previously Treated Patients with mCRC Across Both Trials

Takeda (TSE:4502/NYSE:TAK) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved FRUZAQLA™ (fruquintinib), an oral targeted therapy for adults with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) who have been previously treated with fluoropyrimidine-, oxaliplatin-, and irinotecan-based chemotherapy, an anti-VEGF therapy, and, if RAS wild-type and medically appropriate, an anti-EGFR therapy. FRUZAQLA is the first and only selective inhibitor of all three VEGF receptor kinases approved in the U.S. for previously treated mCRC regardless of biomarker status.1,2 This approval was received under Priority Review more than 20 days ahead of the scheduled PDUFA date of November 30, 2023.

"There is a pressing need for new treatments for individuals with metastatic colorectal cancer, who have had limited options and continue to face poor outcomes. FRUZAQLA is the first novel chemotherapy-free treatment option approved for patients in the U.S. regardless of biomarker status in more than a decade,” said Teresa Bitetti, president of the Global Oncology Business Unit at Takeda. “For far too long, healthcare providers and patients have had limited options when selecting a therapy for metastatic colorectal cancer. FRUZAQLA has the potential to offer a significant survival benefit to patients without negatively impacting their quality of life.”

The approval of FRUZAQLA is based on data from two large Phase 3 trials: the multi-regional FRESCO-2 trial, data from which were published in The Lancet, along with the FRESCO trial conducted in China, data from which were published in JAMA. The trials investigated FRUZAQLA plus best supportive care versus placebo plus best supportive care in patients with previously treated mCRC. Both FRESCO and FRESCO-2 met their primary and key secondary efficacy endpoints and showed consistent benefit among a total of 734 patients treated with FRUZAQLA. Safety profiles were consistent across trials.

“Patients with metastatic disease are often fragile and fatigued – due to both their condition as well as the therapies they have been exposed to. An oral, chemotherapy-free option that offers a survival benefit despite treatment with prior therapies is a critical need for treating metastatic colorectal cancer,” said Cathy Eng, M.D., FACP, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Colorectal cancer is a highly heterogeneous disease, making it difficult to bring advancements to patients whose cancer has metastasized. I look forward to being able to offer a new solution to appropriate patients.”

In the United States, approximately 153,000 new cases of CRC will be diagnosed in 2023, representing 7.8% of all new cancer cases.3,4 Approximately 70% of patients with CRC will experience metastatic disease, whether at diagnosis or after treatment. Metastases are the main cause of CRC-related mortality.5,6

“We have witnessed firsthand the physical and emotional toll metastatic colorectal cancer has on patients, their families and their care teams,” said Michael Sapienza, Chief Executive Officer, at Colorectal Cancer Alliance. “We are encouraged to see the continued progress in providing new options to patients.”

The data from FRESCO and FRESCO-2 also supported the EU marketing authorization application (MAA) for fruquintinib, which was validated and accepted for review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in June 2023. A submission to the Japan Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) also took place in September 2023.

About FRUZAQLA™ (fruquintinib) 

FRUZAQLA (fruquintinib) is a selective oral inhibitor of VEGFR -1, -2 and -3. VEGFR inhibitors play a pivotal role in blocking tumor angiogenesis. FRUZAQLA was designed to have enhanced selectivity that limits off-target kinase activity, allowing for high drug exposure, sustained target inhibition, and flexibility for the potential use as part of combination therapy. FRUZAQLA has demonstrated a manageable safety profile and is being investigated in combinations with other anti-cancer therapies. Fruquintinib was approved for marketing by the China National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) in September 2018 and commercially launched in China in November 2018 under the brand name ELUNATE®. In addition, a marketing authorization application (MAA) from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) was validated and accepted for review in June 2023, and a submission to the Japan Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) took place in September 2023. Takeda has the exclusive worldwide license to further develop, commercialize, and manufacture fruquintinib outside of mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. Fruquintinib is developed and marketed in China by HUTCHMED.



  • Hypertension occurred in 49% of 911 patients with mCRC treated with FRUZAQLA, including Grade 3-4 events in 19%, and hypertensive crisis in three patients (0.3%). Do not initiate FRUZAQLA unless blood pressure is adequately controlled. Monitor blood pressure weekly for the first month and at least monthly thereafter as clinically indicated. Initiate or adjust anti-hypertensive therapy as appropriate. Withhold, reduce dose, or permanently discontinue FRUZAQLA based on severity of hypertension.
  • Hemorrhagic Events including serious, fatal events can occur with FRUZAQLA. In 911 patients with mCRC treated with FRUZAQLA, 6% of patients experienced gastrointestinal hemorrhage, including 1% with a Grade ≥3 event and 2 patients with fatal hemorrhages. Permanently discontinue FRUZAQLA in patients with severe or life-threatening hemorrhage. Monitor the International Normalized Ratio (INR) levels in patients receiving anticoagulants.
  • Infections. FRUZAQLA can increase the risk of infections, including fatal infections. In 911 patients with mCRC treated with FRUZAQLA, the most common infections were urinary tract infections (6.8%), upper respiratory tract infections (3.2%) and pneumonia (2.5%); fatal infections included pneumonia (0.4%), sepsis (0.2%), bacterial infection (0.1%), lower respiratory tract infection (0.1%), and septic shock (0.1%). Withhold FRUZAQLA for Grade 3 or 4 infections, or worsening infection of any grade. Resume FRUZAQLA at the same dose when the infection has resolved.
  • Gastrointestinal Perforation occurred in patients treated with FRUZAQLA. In 911 patients with mCRC treated with FRUZAQLA, 1.3% experienced a Grade ≥3 gastrointestinal perforation, including one fatal event. Permanently discontinue FRUZAQLA in patients who develop gastrointestinal perforation or fistula.
  • Hepatotoxicity. FRUZAQLA can cause liver injury. In 911 patients with mCRC treated with FRUZAQLA, 48% experienced increased ALT or AST, including Grade ≥3 events in 5%, and fatal events in 0.2% of patients. Monitor liver function tests (ALT, AST, and bilirubin) before initiation and periodically throughout treatment with FRUZAQLA. Temporarily hold and then reduce or permanently discontinue FRUZAQLA depending on the severity and persistence of hepatotoxicity as manifested by elevated liver function tests.
  • Proteinuria. FRUZAQLA can cause proteinuria. In 911 patients with mCRC treated with FRUZAQLA, 36% experienced proteinuria and 2.5% of patients experienced Grade ≥3 events. Monitor for proteinuria before initiation and periodically throughout treatment with FRUZAQLA. For proteinuria ≥2g/24 hours, withhold FRUZAQLA until improvement to ≤Grade 1 proteinuria and resume FRUZAQLA at a reduced dose. Discontinue FRUZAQLA in patients who develop nephrotic syndrome.
  • Palmar-Plantar Erythrodysesthesia (PPE) occurred in 35% of 911 patients treated with FRUZAQLA, including 8% with Grade 3 events. Based on severity of PPE, withhold FRUZAQLA and then resume at the same or reduced dose.
  • Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome (PRES), a syndrome of subcortical vasogenic edema diagnosed by characteristic finding on MRI, occurred in one of 911 patients treated with FRUZAQLA. Perform an evaluation for PRES in any patient presenting with seizures, headache, visual disturbances, confusion, or altered mental function. Discontinue FRUZAQLA in patients who develop PRES.
  • Impaired Wound Healing. In 911 patients with mCRC treated with FRUZAQLA, 1 patient experienced a Grade 2 event of wound dehiscence. Do not administer FRUZAQLA for at least 2 weeks prior to major surgery. Do not administer FRUZAQLA for at least 2 weeks after major surgery and until adequate wound healing. The safety of resumption of FRUZAQLA after resolution of wound healing complications has not been established.
  • Arterial Thromboembolic Events. In 911 patients with mCRC treated with FRUZAQLA, 0.8% of patients experienced an arterial thromboembolic event. Initiation of FRUZAQLA in patients with a recent history of thromboembolic events should be carefully considered. In patients who develop arterial thromboembolism, discontinue FRUZAQLA.
  • Allergic Reactions to FD&C Yellow No. 5 (Tartrazine) and No. 6 (Sunset Yellow FCF). FRUZAQLA 1 mg capsules contain FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine), which may cause allergic-type reactions (including bronchial asthma) in certain susceptible persons. FRUZAQLA 1 mg contains FD&C Yellow No. 6 (sunset yellow FCF), which may cause allergic reactions.
  • Embryo-Fetal Toxicity. Based on findings in animal studies and its mechanism of action, FRUZAQLA can cause fetal harm when administered to pregnant women. Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus. Advise females of childbearing potential and males with female partners of childbearing potential to use effective contraception during treatment with FRUZAQLA and for 2 weeks after the last dose.


The most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥20%) following treatment with FRUZAQLA included hypertension, palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (hand-foot skin reactions), proteinuria, dysphonia, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and asthenia.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Avoid concomitant administration of FRUZAQLA with strong or moderate CYP3A inducers.


  • Lactation: Advise women not to breastfeed during treatment with FRUZAQLA and for 2 weeks after the last dose.

To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Takeda Pharmaceuticals at 1-844-662-8532 or the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or

Please see FRUZAQLA (fruquintinib) full Prescribing Information

About CRC 

CRC is a cancer that starts in either the colon or rectum. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, CRC is the third most prevalent cancer worldwide, associated with more than 935,000 deaths in 2020.7 In the U.S., it is estimated that 153,000 patients will be diagnosed with CRC and 53,000 deaths from the disease will occur in 2023.3 In Europe, CRC was the second most common cancer in 2020, with approximately 520,000 new cases and 245,000 deaths. In Japan, CRC was the most common cancer, with an estimated 148,000 new cases and 60,000 deaths in 2020.7 Although early-stage CRC can be surgically resected, metastatic CRC remains an area of high unmet need with poor outcomes and limited treatment options. Some patients with metastatic CRC may benefit from personalized therapeutic strategies based on molecular characteristics; however, most patients have tumors that do not harbor actionable mutations.8,9,10,11,12

About the Phase 3 FRESCO-2 Trial 

The FRESCO-2 study is a multi-regional clinical trial conducted in the U.S., Europe, Japan and Australia investigating FRUZAQLA (fruquintinib) plus best supportive care vs placebo plus best supportive care in patients with previously treated metastatic CRC (NCT04322539). The study met its primary and key secondary endpoints, demonstrating that treatment with FRUZAQLA resulted in statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS). The safety profile of FRUZAQLA in FRESCO-2 was consistent with previously reported FRUZAQLA studies. Results from the study were presented at ESMO in September 2022 and subsequently published in The Lancet.13,14

The Phase 3 FRESCO and FRESCO-2 trials supported the marketing authorization application (MAA) from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for fruquintinib, which was validated and accepted for review in June 2023. A submission to the Japan Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) also took place in September 2023.

About Takeda 

Takeda is focused on creating better health for people and a brighter future for the world. We aim to discover and deliver life-transforming treatments in our core therapeutic and business areas, including gastrointestinal and inflammation, rare diseases, plasma-derived therapies, oncology, neuroscience and vaccines. Together with our partners, we aim to improve the patient experience and advance a new frontier of treatment options through our dynamic and diverse pipeline. As a leading values-based, R&D-driven biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan, we are guided by our commitment to patients, our people and the planet. Our employees in approximately 80 countries and regions are driven by our purpose and are grounded in the values that have defined us for more than two centuries. For more information, visit

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Medical Information 

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