ZURICH: A late-stage clinical trial has shown therapy combining Roche's immunotherapy Tecentriq with two of its other drugs helped people with a form of advanced melanoma, the Swiss drugmaker said on Friday.
The study met its primary aim of showing progression-free survival in patients with previously untreated BRAF V600 mutation-positive advanced melanoma, Roche said.
Adding Tecentriq, a monoclonal antibody, to Cotellic and Zelboraf helped reduce the risk of disease worsening or death compared to administering a placebo plus Cotellic and Zelboraf."By combining a cancer immunotherapy with targeted therapies, we hope to offer a new approach that improves outcomes for people with advanced, BRAF-mutant melanoma," said Levi Garraway, Roche's chief medical officer and head of product development.
Roche has an extensive clinical trial development program for Tecentriq, with more than 50 studies for use in fighting lung, kidney, skin, breast, colorectal, prostate, ovarian, bladder, blood, liver and head and neck cancers.
Tecentriq immunotherapy mixed with chemotherapy won U.S. approval this month as an initial treatment for a form of lung cancer as Roche seeks to establish its alternative to drugs from Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Roche shares were indicated 1.5per cent higher in pre-stock market activity. They closed on Thursday at 302.35 francs.
Bank Vontobel analyst Stefan Schneider said that until now he had not included projected revenue from this new therapy in Roche models.
"Following today's news, we reduce risk-adjustment on our peak sales estimates of 423 million Swiss francs (US$424 million)to 40per cent, increasing our price target to 334 francs from 332," he said in a note to clients, keeping his "buy" recommendation on the stock.
(US$1 = 0.9972 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Susan Fenton)