SHAFAQNA – Swiss drugmaker Roche said on Wednesday a late-stage study involving non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients showed they lived longer without the disease worsening when treated with its Gazyva drug, giving a boost to its line-up of cancer treatments.
Gazyva – marketed as Gazyvaro in the European Union and Switzerland – is being positioned as an alternative follow-on medicine to Roche’s Rituxan, or MabThera, which generated 6.9 billion Swiss francs ($7.46 billion) in sales last year.
Roche is hoping to switch as many patients as possible to the newer product before Rituxan faces competition from cheaper copies when its patent protection expires.
The study showed that patients with relapsed slow-growing, or indolent non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma lived significantly longer without their disease worsening when treated with Gazyva and bendamustine followed by Gazyva alone, the company said in a statement.
The news was welcomed by investors, with Roche shares rising by 2.7 percent by 1057 GMT, outpacing the European healthcare sector index which was up 0.7 percent.
“It suggests Gazyva works in a Rituxan refractory (relapsed) population that offers sales potential in the $500 million to $1 billion range,” analysts at Deutsche Bank, which has a “buy” rating on the stock, wrote in a note.
Data from the study will be submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, European Medicines Agency and other health authorities for consideration for approval, the company said.
The performance of Gazyva against Rituxan in two ongoing head-to-head late-stage trials will be another important indicator, analysts said.
The trials involve patients with large B-cell lymphoma and indolent non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
($1 = 0.9250 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Joshua Franklin; Editing by Anand Basu and John Stonestreet)
Source : Reuters.com