The entrectinib cancer pill from Roche was reportedly found to shrink tumors in 57 percent of patients, in a group which can be identified only through genetic profiling. The Swiss pharmaceutical giant supposedly aims to challenge the alliance of Bayer and Loxo Oncology in an innovative targeted treatment area.
The results of a trial conducted on patients with a gene anomaly called NTRK fusion, which is found in less than 1 percent across the wide range of types of tumor, were revealed at the European Society for Medical Oncology’s annual congress in Munich. Germany’s Bayer and U.S. partner Loxo had also presented data from an enlarged trial of their rival compound larotrectinib, which showed a slight improvement on previous high-efficacy readings.
Further from the reports, the larotrectinib pill of Loxo, which is co-developed with Bayer, was shown to shrink tumors in 75 percent of patients with NTRK fusion gene anomaly, which occurs in pancreas, lung, or over a dozen of other organs. Larotrectinib’s response rate in a larger group of 122 trial participants, which is now spanning 24 types of tumors, was found to be 81 percent.
Roche stated that since both companies conducted trials on different patient types, the readings from the two NTRK fusion trials cannot be compared. For instance, the study conducted by Loxo involved some cancers in children, whereas Roche is planning to investigate such cases separately.
For the record, the Roche compound is created to fight against various oncogenic mutations and the company had last month revealed data on entrectinib shrinking tumors among 77 percent of lung cancer patients with ROS1 mutation. Roche had acquired entrectinib as part of its US$1.7 billion takeover agreement with Ignyta Inc., the U.S. cancer drug specialist, which took place in December last year.
Immuno-oncology is another key business area for Roche and it also disclosed positive results of its Tecentriq drug, used in a group of breast cancer patients having considerably poor prognosis.