) recently announced survival data from its phase III CLEOPATRA
study on Perjeta (pertuzumab).
Data from the study showed that Perjeta plus Roche's existing
breast cancer drug Herceptin (trastuzumab) and docetaxel
chemotherapy significantly improved overall survival in patients
suffering from previously untreated HER2-positive metastatic
breast cancer (mBC) in comparison to the combination of
Herceptin, chemotherapy and placebo.
The risk of death was reduced by 34% in patients who received
the combination of Perjeta, Herceptin and chemotherapy in
comparison to patients receiving the combination of Herceptin and
chemotherapy. On the basis of favorable data, Perjeta was offered
to patients receiving the Herceptin and chemotherapy combination
in the CLEOPATRA study. The updated data did not provide any new
We note that in June this year, the US Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) approved Perjeta plus Herceptin and
docetaxel chemotherapy for treating HER2-positive mBC in patients
who did not receive prior anti-HER2 therapy or chemotherapy for
metastatic disease. The FDA's decision was based on positive
results from the CLEOPATRA study.
Roche also received approval for Perjeta in Switzerland and
Mexico in August and September, respectively, this year. Roche is
also looking for the EU approval of the drug having already
submitted a Marketing Authorisation Application (MAA) to the
European Medicines Agency (EMA).
HER2-positive cancer, an aggressive form of breast cancer,
affects 15-20% of the total breast cancer population. Herceptin
sales were up 12% year over year during the first nine months of
2012. Apart from Herceptin, other treatments in the market for
HER2-positive breast cancer include
The strengthening of the breast cancer portfolio at Roche
should boost the top line further since the market for breast
cancer, the most common form of cancer affecting women globally,
offers significant commercial potential.
Roche, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, carries a Zacks #2
Rank (Buy) in the short run. Other pharma companies that carry a
Zacks #2 Rank include
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