advances skin cancer trials as part of combination therapy strategy
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[November 07, 2016]
ZURICH (Reuters) - Roche is pressing ahead with two skin cancer
trials that combine its immunotherapy Tecentriq with other drugs after
early data showed the treatments were well-tolerated and effective in a
small number of patients, the company said Monday.
One study combined Tecentriq with Cotellic and Zelboraf in 30
patients with untreated BRAFV600 mutation-positive metastatic
melanoma, the other Tecentriq with Cotellic for 10 patients with
BRAF-wild-type and BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma.
Both now move into phase III late-stage pivotal trials.
After winning approval for Tecentriq earlier this year, first for
bladder cancer and more recently for lung cancer, Roche is now
trying it with other drugs in hopes that new combinations will
result in potent weapons against cancer.
Of Roche's 50 immunotherapy trials underway, 40 are with different
combinations of medicines.
"We are encouraged by these early results which demonstrate a high
proportion of people responded to these investigational combination
therapies," said Sandra Horning, Roche's chief medical officer, in a
Though the Roche studies are just getting off the ground, analysts
said the news so far looks good.
"Even when the data they are presenting was taken from a sample of
only a few patients, the efficacy without the use of any
chemotherapy is certainly extraordinarily high," Zuercher
Kantonalbank analyst Michael Nawrath wrote in a note to investors.
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Other companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, are also pursuing
Roche shares rose 1.6 percent in early trading on Monday. They have
lost almost 20 percent of their value this year, compared with the
Stoxx Europe 600 Health Care index's 16.4 percent drop.
(Reporting by John Miller, editing by Louise Heavens)
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