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Roche blockbuster immunotherapy Tecentriq outclassed by chemo in latest trial

Published on 10/05/17 at 11:16am

It has been revealed that Roche’s immuno-oncology drug Tecentriq (atezolizumab) has failed to hit its primary endpoint in a follow-up trial investigating its efficacy in reducing disease progression after chemotherapy in patients suffering from locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer.

The trial was intended as a continuation of previous trials with the goal of generating further efficacy data, in order to satisfy the FDA’s requirements for its accelerated approval status in bladder cancer, awarded last year.

Roche noted that the failure was primarily a result of patients surviving longer than expected when treated with chemotherapy, outclassing the benefits offered by Tecentriq. Some analysts place the financial fallout of this failure at as much as $1 billion in peak sales, but upcoming late-stage data on the drug’s effectiveness in the lung cancer space is due in July, and could prove to be far more crucial for the company.

The drug is a huge weapon in Roche’s armoury, forming the basis of many combination treatments and the subject of over 30 ongoing trials by the company. In the first quarter of 2017, Tecentriq has exceeded analyst expectations to generate $112 million. It is already approved by the FDA in the indication of non-small cell lung cancer

Despite this failure, Roche remained committed to the importance of the therapy, voicing its dedication to exploring its further applications.

"We believe that Tecentriq will continue to play an important role in the treatment for people with advanced bladder cancer, and will discuss these data with health authorities…We will apply insights to the continued development of Tecentriq," Roche said in a statement.

Matt Fellows

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