Somatic PIK3CA mutations are frequently found in solid tumors, raising the hypothesis that selective inhibition of PI3Kα may have robust efficacy in PIK3CA-mutant cancers while sparing patients the side-effects associated with broader inhibition of the class I phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) family. Here, we report the biologic properties of the 2-aminothiazole derivative NVP-BYL719, a selective inhibitor of PI3Kα and its most common oncogenic mutant forms. The compound selectivity combined with excellent drug-like properties translates to dose- and time-dependent inhibition of PI3Kα signaling in vivo, resulting in robust therapeutic efficacy and tolerability in PIK3CA-dependent tumors. Novel targeted therapeutics such as NVP-BYL719, designed to modulate aberrant functions elicited by cancer-specific genetic alterations upon which the disease depends, require well-defined patient stratification strategies in order to maximize their therapeutic impact and benefit for the patients. Here, we also describe the application of the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia as a preclinical platform to refine the patient stratification strategy for NVP-BYL719 and found that PIK3CA mutation was the foremost positive predictor of sensitivity while revealing additional positive and negative associations such as PIK3CA amplification and PTEN mutation, respectively. These patient selection determinants are being assayed in the ongoing NVP-BYL719 clinical trials.