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TESARO Collaborates With Roche to Develop Zejula Combination

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TESARO, Inc. (TSRO - Free Report) announced a collaboration with Genentech, a subsidiary of Roche (RHHBY - Free Report) , to develop its PARP inhibitor, Zejula (niraparib), in combination with the latter’s immuno-oncology drug, Tecentriq (atezolizumab) and MEK inhibitor, Cotellic (cobimetinib). The combination will be evaluated in ovarian cancer patients who are sensitive to platinum-based chemotherapy.

Zejula is already approved as maintenance treatment for patients with ovarian cancer who have achieved a complete or partial response to platinum-based chemotherapy. The drug has shown potential with commendable sales growth since its launch in April 2017. In the first quarter of 2018 sales grew 12% sequentially to $48.9 million.

However, a look at TESARO’s share price movement so far this year shows that the company has underperformed the industry. While the stock fell 48.7%, the industry registered a gain of 0.9%.

TESARO is developing Zejula as monotherapy for the treatment of ovarian cancer in first-line setting. A phase III study in similar indication is currently enrolling patients. The company is also focused on developing the drug beyond ovarian cancer.

TESARO and Roche are planning to develop Zejula in combination with Tecentriq, a PD-L1 antibody, for the treatment of metastatic bladder cancer. A phase Ib/II study is expected to be initiated by the end of 2018.

Meanwhile, a phase I/II study is evaluating Zejula in combination with Merck’s (MRK - Free Report) anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody, Keytruda (pembrolizumab), in patients with recurrent, platinum-resistant ovarian cancer or triple negative breast cancer.

Successful development of Zejula as monotherapy or in combination with other cancer drugs will boost the prospect of the drug in the PARP inhibitor segment where it competes with AstraZeneca’s (AZN - Free Report) Lynparza and Clovis’ Rubraca.

Apart from Zejula, TESARO is also evaluating its own anti-PD-1 antibody, TSR-042, in several early-stage studies in multiple tumor types.

TESARO currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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