Roche, Plexxikon melanoma drug extends patients' lives

Roche and partner Plexxikon have reported a rare success in the challenging field of melanoma. Closely-watched drug PLX4032 extended the lives of subjects with metastatic melanoma in a Phase III trial. Additionally, patients receiving PLX4032 lived longer without their disease getting progressing compared to those who received the current standard of care. The drug is designed to treat people with previously untreated BRAF V600 mutation-positive metastatic melanoma. Full results of the study will be presented later this year.

"For the first time, a personalized investigational medicine, RG7204, has shown a significant survival benefit in metastatic melanoma," said CMO Hal Barron. "This is an important advance for people with the BRAF V600 mutation-positive form of the disease who have had extremely limited treatment options."

Roche plans to offer the drug to patients in the control arm of the study. PLX4032 made headlines several months ago when trials of the drug caused debate over the ethics of giving control groups standard care when it offered little survival benefit. About 40,000 people die of the disease each year, according to Bloomberg.

- check out the release
- here's the Bloomberg article