Roche has enjoyed a dream start to the week with both its immuno-oncology candidate, Tecentriq, and its hemophilia A drug, Hemlibra, succeeding in the clinic.
Roche’s week started with a bang as two of its drug candidates achieved positive results in Phase III trials. Tecentriq and Hemlibra are being tested for the treatment of advanced lung cancer and hemophilia A, respectively. The back-to-back successes gave Roche’s stock price a 6% boost, giving it a market cap of CHF 210B (€180B), with investors jumping on the chance to climb on board now that the company appears to be on a roll.
Tecentriq has been used in combination with Avastin, a monoclonal antibody that interferes with cancer growth and spread, and chemotherapy. Full results will be released next month, but the preliminary data suggest that the triple therapy significantly improved progression-free survival and risk of death as a first-line treatment in a group of lung cancer patients.
Hemlibra, a bispecific antibody that binds both factor IXa and factor X, two factors that are vital for natural coagulation, could be a blockbuster in the hemophilia field. On Friday, the candidate received accelerated approval from the FDA based on earlier clinical data, but it has now demonstrated superior prophylaxis in comparison with factor VIII, without the thrombotic events that had been problematic in previous studies.
Roche’s news has not made such happy reading for its competitors. Shire recently received orphan drug designation for its hemophilia A gene therapy, but today saw its stock price fall by almost 4%. Roche has also succeeded where AstraZeneca failed, whose combination of combination of durvalumab and the CTLA 4 immunotherapy tremelimumab missed its progression-free survival target.
Roche will now hope to be in pole position to bring its highly performing candidates to the market, in the hemophilia and non-small cell lung cancer fields, which are thought to be worth $25B (€21B) by 2024 and $12B (€10B) by 2025, respectively.
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