Roche has told partner Curis that it needs more time to decide whether to continue development of a compound the firms are developing as a treatment for advanced ovarian cancer.

The Swiss major’s Genentech unit has presented preliminary results from a Phase II trial of GDC-0449, a first-in-class “hedgehog pathway inhibitor” which has been tested as a single agent maintenance therapy for ovarian cancer patients in their second or third complete remission from the disease. Roche has informed Curis that the findings from the primary analysis “warrant additional investigation to clarify and interpret potential clinical activity of the drug candidate".

As a result, Roche plans to “further analyse the data, including subset analyses in the coming months” and then “make a portfolio decision regarding whether, or to what extent, they will continue development of GDC-0449 in advanced ovarian cancer”.

Curis chief executive Dan Passeri added that "while we await the final analysis of the data from this advanced ovarian cancer study, we remain optimistic about the continued evaluation of GDC-0449 in tumours such as basal cell carcinoma”. He added that Roche has already completed enrolment for a Phase II study of the drug in the latter indication.