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Roche's Actemra fails to improve clinical status in COVID-19-associated pneumonia

Published on 29/07/20 at 10:38am

Roche has announced the disappointing news that its therapy Actemra/RoActemra (tocilizumab) failed to improve clinical status to a statistically significant degree in adult patients hospitalised with severe COVID-19-associated pneumonia in the Phase 3 COVACTA study, missing its primary endpoint.

In the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)-backed trial, Roche also confirmed that the therapy failed to hit its secondary goals, with no difference in patient mortality at week four in both the Actemra and placebo groups.

Despite this, the company did note that the data showed a positive trend in time to hospital discharge in those receiving its therapy, with median time to discharge recorded as 20 days in the Actemra group compared to 28 days with placebo.

“People around the world are waiting for further effective treatment options for COVID-19 and we are disappointed that COVACTA did not demonstrate a benefit for patients in either clinical status or mortality at week four,” said Dr Levi Garraway, Roche’s Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Product Development. “We will continue to generate evidence to provide a more complete understanding of Actemra/RoActemra in COVID-19 associated pneumonia.”

Roche confirmed that full results from the study would be presented in a peer-reviewed journal. The company is also trialling Actemra/RoActemra in COVID-19-associated pneumonia in a further Phase 2 study and two Phase 3 studies.  

Matt Fellows

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