Roche (RHHBY) Presents Encouraging Data on MS Drug Ocrevus

Shutterstock photo

Roche Holding AG RHHBY announced that an early treatment with its multiple sclerosis ("MS") drug Ocrevus significantly reduced disability progression over five years in patients with relapsing MS ("RMS") and primary progressive MS ("PPMS"). The new data will be presented at the European Committee for the Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS), scheduled to be held in Berlin, Germany from Oct 10 to 12.

The five-year data from the phase III extension studies of OPERA I, OPERA II and ORATORIO showed that Ocrevus was effective on key measures of disease activity. Moreover, early initiation of treatment with Ocrevus resulted in superior disability progression outcomes as compared to RMS patients who shifted from interferon beta-1α or PPMS patients who switched from placebo.

In patients with PPMS, early treatment with Ocrevus led to reduced disability and upper limb progression compared to patients who switched from placebo.

The phase III ORATORIO study showed that patients who were continuously treated with Ocrevus three to five years earlier experienced lower disability progression and upper limb disability progression compared to those who shifted from placebo at 24 weeks.

Notably, additional data from the phase IIIb CHORDS study will also be presented. The study is evaluating Ocrevus in patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), having suboptimal response at six months of treatment with other disease-modifying therapy.

The longer-term efficacy and safety data are consistent with the drug's favorable benefit-risk profile, for both PPMS and RMS.

Shares of Roche have lost 2.8% so far this year, against the industry's increase of 7%.

While the MS market holds immense potential, competition is stiff with the likes of Biogen, Inc. BIIB .

Meanwhile, approval of new drugs and a potential label expansion of existing drugs bode well for Roche as its legacy drugs like Avastin, Herceptin and MabThera are facing competition from biosimilars. Novartis NVS has already launched its biosimilar version of Rituxan/ MabThera in Europe. Amgen AMGN too has got its biosimilar of Avastin.

Zacks Rank

Roche currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see  the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

Will You Make a Fortune on the Shift to Electric Cars?

Here's another stock idea to consider. Much like petroleum 150 years ago, lithium power may soon shake the world, creating millionaires and reshaping geo-politics. Soon electric vehicles (EVs) may be cheaper than gas guzzlers. Some are already reaching 265 miles on a single charge.

With battery prices plummeting and charging stations set to multiply, one company stands out as the #1 stock to buy according to Zacks research.

It's not the one you think.

See This Ticker Free >>

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

Novartis AG (NVS): Free Stock Analysis Report

Roche Holding AG (RHHBY): Free Stock Analysis Report

Biogen Inc. (BIIB): Free Stock Analysis Report

Amgen Inc. (AMGN): Free Stock Analysis Report

To read this article on Zacks.com click here.

Zacks Investment Research

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: NVS , RHHBY , BIIB , AMGN

More from Zacks.com




Equity Research

Research Brokers before you trade

Want to trade FX?