Roche has revealed that a combination of Tecentriq and Cotellic tested in a late-stage trial failed to improve overall survival compared to regorafenib in patients with advanced metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC).

The Phase III IMblaze370 study evaluated the combination in people with difficult-to-treat, locally advanced or metastatic CRC whose disease progressed or who were intolerant to at least two systemic chemotherapy regimens.

On the plus side, safety for the combination of Tecentriq (atezolizumab) and Cotellic (cobimetinib) appeared to be consistent with the known safety profiles of the individual medicines, and no new safety signals were identified with the combination

“While these results are not what we hoped for, we remain committed to applying our deep experience to develop medicines that will improve outcomes for people living with gastrointestinal cancers,” said Sandra Horning, MD, Roche’s chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development.

“In particular, we have a number of studies evaluating medicines in colorectal cancer that could play an important role in the treatment of people with this disease in the future.”

The results from IMblaze370 will be further examined and presented at an upcoming medical meeting, Roche noted.

Genentech/Lodo deal

Meanwhile, the Swiss drug giant’s unit Genentech has entered into a strategic drug discovery collaboration with Lodo Therapeutics, potentially worth $1 billion to the latter.

Genentech intends to use Lodos’ proprietary genome mining and biosynthetic cluster assembly platform to identify unique, bioactive natural products directly from the microbiome of the soil.

Compounds derived from natural products make up a significant proportion of the small molecule drugs used to treat cancer, infections and chronic illnesses such as Type II diabetes.

Rather than relying on culturing known strains of bacteria, Lodos’ genome-based approach “leverages the power of microbial evolution to identify novel, naturally occurring compounds that have therapeutic potential in the treatment of cancer and drug-resistant bacterial infections,” Lodo noted, adding that the approach “is expected to reduce the time and cost of drug discovery”.