) announced that its phase III study, coBRIM, on pipeline
candidate, cobimetinib, achieved its primary endpoint.
The data from the study showed that MEK inhibitor cobimetinib
used in combination with Roche's BRAF inhibitor Zelboraf was
effective in treating patients with previously untreated BRAF V600
mutation-positive advanced melanoma. The combination helped
patients to live significantly longer without their disease
worsening as compared to Zelboraf alone.
Consequently, the study met its primary endpoint of progression
Roche expects to present data from the study at an upcoming
medical meeting. Roche also expects to submit the data from the
study to the FDA for a potential approval in the U.S.
Roche is developing cobimetinib in collaboration with
). We remind investors that Zelboraf, a BRAFV600-targeted therapy,
is approved for the treatment of adult patients with BRAFV600
mutation-positive unresectable or metastatic melanoma in more than
80 countries. The drug was launched in 2011.
Sales from Zelboraf came in at CHF 79 million in the first
quarter of 2014, down 2% due to competition in the U.S.
The successful development and commercialization of cobimetinib
will further boost Roche's skin cancer franchise.
We note that cobimetinib is also being developed in combination
with other candidates as an immunotherapy, in several tumor types,
including non-small cell lung cancer and colorectal cancer.
Roche, a large cap pharma, currently carries a Zacks Rank #3
(hold). Some better-ranked large cap pharmas in the industry
Johnson & Johnson
). Both the stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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