The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use and commercialization of Roche’s new lung cancer drug, Tecentriq, thus introducing a new, efficient product on the market.
Roche Holding AG, a Switzerland-based drugmaker, is considered to be a worldwide leader in the cancer treatments area.
The company’s new drug, which had already received the mark of approval as a bladder cancer treatment, will mark a new, strong competitor for Opdivo, Bristol Myers Squibbs’ lung cancer drug which is currently leading the market.
The difference between Opdivo and the new Tecentriq will be marked by the fact that the former drug is given to all patients, with their immune-system PD-L1 suppression levels not being taken into consideration.
PD-L1 is a protein that in high levels can account for a more receptive response to immunotherapy. Tecentriq will be the first and as yet the only drug to target the protein and, according to test results, it has already demonstrated an increase in the treated patients’ life span.
Although most available drugs target the protein PD-1, Tecentriq is aimed at the PD-L1 as the drugmaker considers the second protein as playing a more significant role in driving the disease.
The company’s Phase III trial test data showed that patients treated with Tecentriq marked a higher and longer rate of survival than sufferers that only went through chemotherapy.
The new lung cancer drug will be used as a second-line of attack against non-small cell lung cancer and will follow after the chemotherapy treatment. It will include sufferers whose disease progressed both after a platinum chemotherapy or the targeted treatments needed by ALK or EGFR positive test results, that detect tumor abnormalities.
The patient’s PD-L1 levels will not have to be taken into consideration as the trial demonstrated an improvement even in the disease cases that expressed low or no observable PD-L1 expressions.
The study also showed that non-small cell lung cancer patients have survived a medium of 4.2 months more than those who followed only the chemo treatment. The results were obtained after comparing the drug treatment’s average 13.8-month survival rate with chemo’s 9.6 months ratio.
As lung cancer is responsible for 20 percent of the annual worldwide 8 million cancer-related deaths, the drug will be introduced in an already competitive market, where it will most probably battle for single or mixed use with the likes of Opdivo and Keytruda, other promising immunotherapy drugs that are currently contributing in treatments.
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