Roche CEO touts 'stunning' breast, lung cancer data

Hours ahead of the 2010 European Society for Medical Oncology meeting in Milan, Roche CEO Severin Schwan (photo) is talking up data from two of his company's cancer drugs: T-DM1, a breast cancer treatment, and MetMab, a drug for lung cancer. "I think a lot of people will be very excited about what we have to present," said Schwan, as quoted by Reuters. "I think the T-DM1 results are stunning; MetMab results are stunning." The remarks were made at a press and analyst event in Tokyo.

In a head-to-head Phase II study, T-DM1 demonstrated a higher response rate and lower toxicity than Herceptin. TheStreet notes that the results are significant since T-DM1 could eventually replace Roche's blockbuster Herceptin. Immunogen is also partnered on the drug. More data on T-DM1 and MetMab will be presented at the meeting.

Roche could use some good news, as the Swiss drugmaker has been hit with a series of recent pipeline setbacks. Roche has delayed development of Type 2 diabetes drug taspoglutide; FDA handed Roche and Genentech a refuse-to-file letter for trastuzumab-DM1; trials of rheumatoid arthritis drug ocrelizumab were suspended, and the FDA is reviewing a breast cancer indication for blockbuster drug Avastin. The various challenges have caused Roche's stock to drop 21 percent this year.

- see the Reuters report
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