Roche scores a notable PhIII success with Tecentriq combo in bladder cancer, but is this another case of too little too late?
Two years after Roche’s PD-L1 drug Tecentriq failed a key test for frontline bladder cancer as a monotherapy, investigators are back with Phase III evidence that their checkpoint tied to chemo can do some good for patients.
Their IMvigor130 study came through on the co-primary endpoint for progression-free survival, but they’ll have to wait for the data to mature more before they make the call on overall survival.
The data will also be held back for a scientific conference, which is when we’ll get an idea on the impact this could have on revenue.
That’s a first in the checkpoint field. But it’s going to be an uphill climb for the pharma giant.
Roche right now is one of the also-rans in the PD-(L)1 game, with Merck’s Keytruda surging further and further ahead of the once-dominant team at Bristol-Myers’ Opdivo. The other 4 drugs on the market have been making very slow progress, relatively, and there’s a whole new wave of rivals poised to hit American shores in the near term which will likely make things much worse for the second-tier players.
Roche has a lot left to prove here. The company hit close to $450 million in revenue from Tecentriq in Q2, making it a blockbuster for the company — which has included this one as one of its brightest new prospects. But Merck, meanwhile, registered $2.6 billion in Q2 sales, far outstripping the rest of the field. And they’re projected to raise that to $17 billion to $20 billion in Everest-high peak sales.
“IMvigor130 is the first positive Phase III study of a cancer immunotherapy combination in previously untreated advanced bladder cancer, an aggressive disease with high unmet need,” said Sandra Horning, CMO. “These results support our broad clinical development program for Tecentriq in bladder cancer, as well as our approach of combining immunotherapy with chemotherapy or other medicines to improve patient outcomes, and we look forward to discussing them with health authorities.”
Tecentriq Q2 update
Global growth driven by lung and breast franchises
CER=Constant Exchange Rates; NSCLC=non-small cell lung cancer; SCLC=small cell lung cancer; TNBC=triple-negative breast cancer; HCC=hepatocellular carcinoma (Source: Roche)
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