Zurich | Roche ‘s new immune-system boosting cancer drug has given positive results in tests on patients suffering from some lung and bladder cancers, according to data released today at the European Cancer Congress in Vienna that the company hopes will help it win quick regulatory approval.
In its Phase II trial targeting advanced or metastatic bladder cancer, Roche said its atezolizumab immunotherapy drug shrank tumours in 27 per cent of people who expressed medium and high levels of PD-L1, a protein that appears to help cancers evade the immune system.
In two separate Phase II trials targeting advanced non-small cell lung cancer, Roche said patients getting atezolizumab lived 7.7 months longer than those who got chemotherapy. The drug also shrank tumours in up to 27 percent of lung cancer sufferers whose disease had progressed with other treatments and who expressed the highest PD-L1 levels, the Swiss company said.
Roche, the largest maker of cancer drugs, is banking on atezolizumab as its next blockbuster to keep pace with rivals including Merck & Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb in cancer immunotherapy development. It hopes the drug will be on the market by late-2016 and said data from these latest studies will help.
We plan to submit these results to global health authorities to bring this potential new option to people as soon as possible, said Sandra Hornung, Roche’s chief medical officer, in a statement.
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