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Roche Tecentriq Phase III Combo Study Meets Primary Endpoint

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Roche Holding AG’s (RHHBY - Free Report) subsidiary Genentech announced that a phase III study, evaluating a combination of its PD-L1 inhibitor Tecentriqplus chemotherapy (carboplatin and Abraxane) for first line treatment of advanced lung cancer met its co-primary endpoint of progression-free survival (“PFS”). The IMpower131 study showed that the combination reduced the risk of disease worsening or death (PFS) compared with chemotherapy alone in the initial treatment of patients with advanced squamous non-small cell lung cancer (“NSCLC”).

However, the above results did not show a statistically significant overall survival (“OS”) benefit. Hence the study will be continued. and the interim data will be presented at an upcoming oncology congress.

Over a year, shares of Roche have declined 8.2% against the industry’s growth of 8.1%.


Tecentriq is marketed for the treatment of second-line metastatic NSCLC. Label expansion in the first line setting should boost the drug’s sales further. Tecentriq is also approved for the treatment of patients suffering from locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) who are not eligible for cisplatin chemotherapy. The drug recored sales of CHF457 million in 2017.

In February 2018, Roche announced positive results from the phase III IMmotion151 study on Tecentriq in combination with oncology drug Avastin (bevacizumab) as a first line treatment for advanced or metastatic renal cell carcinoma. The study met its co-primary endpoint of investigator-assessed PFS in patients whose disease expressed the PD-L1 protein. Results showed that patients who received Tecentriq plus Avastin had a 26% reduced risk of disease worsening or death (PFS) compared to people treated with Sutent.

We remind investors that Merck’s  (MRK - Free Report) PD-L1 inhibitor Keytruda is approved by the FDA  both as monotherapy and in combination with Lilly’s  (LLY - Free Report) Alimta and carboplatin for the first line treatment of patients with metastatic nonsquamous NSCLC.


Zacks Rank & Another Stock to Consider

Roche carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Another top-ranked stock from the same space is Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN - Free Report) ,sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Regeneron’s earnings per share estimates have moved up from $18.65 to $18.68 for 2018 in the last 30 days. The company pulled off a positive earnings surprise in three of the last four quarters, with an average beat of 9.15%.

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