Roche of Switzerland, which has had a fairly mixed time at this year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, is still confident that it will remain at the top of the cancer treatment tree, helped by 20 regulatory filings over the next five years.
William Burns, chief executive of the firm’s pharmaceutical unit, said in a conference call that the filings will include new drugs and also applications for the wider use of those already on the market and noted that “of the products we have seen [at ASCO] I don't expect any to impact Roche sales significantly or threaten our competitive advantage.”
ASCO is a time when Roche comes to the fore and the firm has presented stacks of data on its cancer drugs but the response has not been overwhelmingly positive. One of the studies presented at the meeting confirmed that a trial of the blockbuster Avastin (bevacizumab) showed that both the standard dose and a lower dose of the drug, in combination with chemotherapy, improved progression-free survival in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer, which could have negative financial implications for Roche, and majority-owned Genentech which sells the drug in the USA. However another study noted that Avastin almost doubled the time that patients with advanced kidney cancer lived without their cancer worsening.
The company has presented a huge amount of data on its cancer drugs at ASCO and PharmaTimes WorldNews will review some of the highlights tomorrow.