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Blow to Roche’s Cancer Immunotherapy Prospects as 2nd Trial Fails

Blow to Roche’s Cancer Immunotherapy Prospects as 2nd Trial Fails

Wednesday, 11 May, 2022 - 07:00
The logo of Swiss drugmaker Roche is seen at its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland January 30, 2020. (Reuters)

Development of a new cancer immunotherapy pioneered by Roche was thrown in doubt on Wednesday when its drug tiragolumab failed to slow the progression of lung cancer in a second trial.

In a study, a combination of tiragolumab and Roche's established Tecentriq drug did not reduce the rate of disease progression in newly diagnosed cases of advanced non-small cell lung cancer when compared to a comparative group of patients on Tecentriq only.

That was after the Swiss drugmaker said in March the drug failed to slow the progression of a different, more aggressive form of lung cancer.

The new setback will likely give pause to a range of rival pharmaceutical companies working on similar compounds in a class of drugs known as anti-TIGIT in a race where Merck & Co has been seen as closest behind Roche.

Gilead Sciences last November exercised an option to collaborate with Arcus Biosciences on the anti-TIGIT drug domvanalimab.

GlaxoSmithKline in June 2021 struck a licensing deal worth up to $2 billion with iTeos Therapeutics Inc´s over an anti-TIGIT candidate.

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Agenus Inc´s are collaborating on a drug under a May 2021 partnership.

Coherus BioSciences in January exercised an option to license a drug candidate by Shanghai Junshi Biosciences for the US and Canadian markets.

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