Roche’s Tecentriq-chemotherapy combo against lung cancer wins FDA approval

December 12, 2019

Swiss drugmaker Roche’s new immunotherapy solution, Tecentriq, has received the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval for use along with Celgene’s Abraxane and carboplatin chemotherapy to treat metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with no EGFR or ALK mutations. A recent study on Tecentriq showed the immuno-chemotherapy combo could extend patients’ lives by a median 18.6 months, significantly longer than the 13.9 months experienced by those on chemo alone.

According to Roche’s global Director of Lung/Head/Neck Cancer, about 30-35% of the lung cancer population is composed of patients with liver metastases – there is potential for Tecentriq, mixed with another drug and chemotherapy, to become the treatment of choice for liver metastases due to the survival benefits the cocktail offers.

However, the newly-approved Tecentriq-chemo combo is yet unmatched to Merck& Co.’s Keytruda-chemo pairing. Roche seeks to establish an alternative NSCLC treatment from companies Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb, but SVB Leerink analyst Daina Graybosch contends that Roche may find it difficult to challenge the “lead and loyalty for Keytruda among oncologists treating NSCLC.”

Merck announced that patients on the Keytruda regimen lived a median 22 months compared with 10.7 months for those on chemo alone.


Category: Features, Pharmaceuticals

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