Switzerland’s Roche says a late-stage study of its cancer drug Avastin in combination with gemcitabine chemotherapy and Tarceva for pancreatic cancer did not meet the primary endpoint for survival.

The 607-patient Phase III trial comparing gemcitabine and Tarceva (erlotinib) with or without Avastin (bevacizumab) as first-line treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer showed some evidence of clinical activity on secondary endpoints but the trial did not meet the primary endpoint of overall survival, Roche said in a statement.

Roche did not give any more details about the new study but data from the AVITA trial are now being further analysed to determine the extent of benefit of adding Avastin to the Tarceva/gemcitabine combination therapy.

Despite the negative news, Roche’s share price was not affected much this morning and analysts did not seem overly concerned at first light. "Pancreatic cancer remains a tough cancer to treat and treatment advances are small and rare," said Deutsche Bank in a research note to investors, adding that "the failure of AVITA would seem disease-specific rather than product-specific."