Roche chucks out phase 3 ipatasertib combo tests, midstage IL-33 asthma, BTKi arthritis trials in Q4 clear-out

Roche
Roche canned two late-stage combo trials of Akt inhibitor ipatasertib in breast cancer. (Roche)

Swiss major Roche is dumping a series of cancer, autoimmune and respiratory drugs in mid- to late-stage tests.

In its fourth-quarter and full-year results published (PDF) early Thursday morning, Roche said it had “removed from phase 3” two breast cancer combos using its Akt inhibitor ipatasertib (aka RG7440), as pressure on the asset after an ESMO failure last year.

These comprise one late-stage trial that wedded the drug with chemotherapy in first-line HR-positive/triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients and a combo test with Roche’s approved checkpoint inhibitor Tecentriq and taxane in first-line TNBC.

In a note to clients, analysts at Jefferies said the trials being canned was “expected after disappointing … data” from a breast cancer trial of ipatasertib presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology meeting last year, which proved to be a dud.

Ipatasertib, originally developed with Assay, had been forecast to top $1.1 billion in worldwide sales in 2026, according to EvaluatePharma’s consensus, with Jefferies analysts previously giving it a 40% probability to launch. The drug is still being assessed in prostate cancer and other breast cancer combination settings, but the goal posts just goit a lot smaller.

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Back in phase 2, Roche has also stopped two trials: one for its Amgen-licensed anti-ST2 antibody astegolimab (RG6149)—which failed in in asthma as an IL-33 (following similar disappointments from the likes of Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline)—and BTK inhibitor fenebrutinib in rheumatoid arthritis, although Roche is also testing the drug in multiple sclerosis.