Tarceva approved for lung cancer in Japan
Roche, Chugai and OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today that Tarceva (erlotinib) has been approved in Japan for the treatment of patients with nonresectable, recurrent and advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) which is aggravated following chemotherapy. The Japanese Ministry of Health approval means that lung cancer patients in Japan will now have an important new treatment option which has been demonstrated to increase overall survival and offer an improvement in quality of life.
Over one million people worldwide suffer from NSCLC. It is the most common form of lung cancer and is more deadly than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.1 In 2005, the number of newly diagnosed patients with NSCLC in Japan reached 85,000.2
â€œTarceva has proven to prolong survival and improve the quality of life of patients with the most common and deadly form of lung cancer,â€ says William M. Burns, CEO of the Pharmaceuticals Division at Roche. â€œThis approval in Japan underscores our commitment to ensure that eligible patients around the world will have access to this effective treatment.â€
â€œThis is a huge milestone for lung cancer patients in Japan,â€ said Gabriel Leung, President OSI Oncology. â€œThe Japanese authorities have recognized the proven benefits of Tarceva and have acted admirably to make a significant difference to local patients, caregivers and oncologists battling this devastating disease.â€
Tarcevaâ€™s approval in Japan is based on the submission of two Phase II studies that confirmed the safety and efficacy of Tarceva in Japanese patients, along with data from the landmark, randomised, Phase III BR.21 study which compared Tarceva to placebo in patients with advanced NSCLC after failure of at least one prior chemotherapy regimen. In this study, 31% of patients receiving Tarceva were alive at one year compared to 22% in the placebo arm and patients experienced a 42.5% improvement (6.7 months vs. 4.7 months) in the length of overall survival.3 In addition, significantly more patients on Tarceva had improvement in cough, pain, shortness of breath and overall physical function versus patients on placebo.3 The BR.21 study, also published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has led to the approval of Tarceva in over 80 countries including the United States and the European Union for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC after failure of at least one prior chemotherapy regimen.
Chugai Pharmaceutical, Co., Ltd., a member of the Roche group, submitted the filing for this approval on April 14, 2006 to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Following this formal approval, Tarceva is expected to launch in Japan by early 2008.
About Lung Cancer
According to the World Health Organisation, lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, with 1.2 million new cases annually.4 NSCLC accounts for almost 80 percent of all lung cancer cases.5 In Japan specifically, the estimated incidence of lung cancer was 85,000 cases in 2005.2
Additional Tarceva Information
Tarceva is a small molecule designed to target the human epidermal growth factor receptor 1 (HER1) pathway, one of the factors critical to cell growth in NSCLC and other solid tumors. HER1, also known as EGFR, is a component of the HER signalling pathway, which plays a role in the formation and growth of numerous cancers. Tarceva is designed to inhibit the tyrosine kinase activity of the HER1 signalling pathway inside the cell, which may block tumor cell growth. Tarceva is the only HER1/EGFR-targeted therapy proven to significantly prolong survival in second-line NSCLC as a single agent.
Tarceva was approved by the FDA in November 2004 and in the European Union in September 2005 as monotherapy for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) after failure of at least one chemotherapy regimen.
In November 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Tarceva in combination with gemcitabine for the first-line treatment of patients with locally advanced, unresectable or metastatic pancreatic cancer in patients who have not received previous chemotherapy. In January 2007, the European Commission granted marketing authorization for Tarceva in combination with gemcitabine for the treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer. Tarceva is the first drug in a Phase III trial to have shown a significant improvement in overall survival when added to gemcitabine chemotherapy as an initial treatment for pancreatic cancer.
For more information, please visit http://www.tarceva.com.
OSI Pharmaceuticals is committed to "shaping medicine and changing lives"by discovering, developing and commercializing high-quality and novel pharmaceutical products designed to extend life and/or improve the quality of life for patients with cancer and diabetes/obesity. The Company's oncology programs are focused on developing molecular targeted therapies designed to change the paradigm of cancer care. OSI's diabetes/obesity efforts are committed to the generation of novel, targeted therapies for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity. OSI's flagship product, Tarceva (erlotinib), is the first drug discovered and developed by OSI to obtain FDA approval and the only EGFR inhibitor to have demonstrated the ability to improve survival in both non-small cell lung cancer and pancreatic cancer patients in certain settings. OSI markets Tarceva through partnerships with Genentech, Inc. in the United States and with Roche throughout the rest of the world. For additional information about OSI, please visit http://www.osip.com.
Chugai Pharmaceutical, specializes in prescription pharmaceuticals and based in Tokyo, is Japanâ€™s leading research-based pharmaceutical companies with strengths in biotechnology products.
Since the start of the strategic alliance with Roche in October 2002, Chugai is actively involved in prescription pharmaceutical R&D activities in Japan and abroad as an important member of the Roche Group. Specifically, Chugai is working to develop innovative products with global applications, focusing on the disease areas of oncology, renal disease, and bone and joint.
In Japan, Chugaiâ€™s research facilities in Gotemba and Kamakura are collaborating to develop new
pharmaceuticals and Ukima is conducting research for technology development for industrial production. Overseas, Chugai Pharma USA and Chugai Pharma Europe are engaged in clinical development activities in the United States and Europe. Additional information is available on the Internet at www.chugai-pharm.co.jp.
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the worldâ€™s leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As the worldâ€™s biggest biotech company and an innovator of products and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, the Group contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving peopleâ€™s health and quality of life. Roche is the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics and drugs for cancer and transplantation, a market leader in virology and active in other major therapeutic areas such as autoimmune diseases, inflammation, metabolic disorders and diseases of the central nervous system. In 2006 sales by the Pharmaceuticals Division totalled 33.3 billion Swiss francs, and the Diagnostics Division posted sales of 8.7 billion Swiss francs. Roche has R&D agreements and strategic alliances with numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai, and invests approximately 7 billion Swiss francs a year in R&D. Worldwide, the Group employs about 75,000 people. Additional information is available on the Internet at www.roche.com.