Roche’s Tecentriq meets primary endpoints in Phase III lung cancer trial

pharmafile | September 1, 2016 | News story | Research and Development PD-L1, Roche, keytruda, nivolumab, opdivo, phase III, tecentriq 

Roche has presented new Phase III data for cancer immunotherapy Tecentriq (atezolizumab), which shows a clinically meaningful improvement in overall survival compared with docetaxel chemotherapy in people with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.

Tecentriq targets and binds to PD-L1, which is expressed on tumour cells and tumour-infiltrating immune cells. By blocking certain interactions, the drug may enable the activation of T cells to restore their ability to effectively detect and attack tumour cells. Other players in the PD-L1 immuno-oncology field are Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo (nivolumab) and MSD’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab)

In patients whose disease progressed on or after treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy, Tecentriq showed a statistically significant improvement in rates of overall survival which met the study’s primary endpoint. Roche currently has eight Phase III studies evaluating the drug in numerous lung cancer indications.

The FDA granted breakthrough therapy designation for Tecentriq in people with PD-L1 positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and the biologics license application was granted priority review with an action date of 19 October 2016.

Sandra Horning, chief medical officer at Roche, says: “These results add to the growing body of evidence that supports the role of Tecentriq as a potential new treatment for specific types of advanced NSCLC. This is very encouraging news for people living with this disease because lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths around the world. We hope to bring this treatment option to patients as soon as possible.”

The PD-L1 field is one of the most hotly contested in the oncology field, with numerous big pharma companies bringing drugs to market. This month’s front page story in Pharmafocus captures the failure of Opdivo, the “leader in the pack”, and how it may grant the initiative to its many rivals.

Sean Murray

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