Roche immunotherapy fails to slow cancer progression

The trials object of improving overall survival in patients with lung cancer was not met.

On Wednesday, Roche announced that their highly anticipated cancer immunotherapy was unsuccessful at slowing the progression of a tough-to-treat form of lung cancer. The Swiss pharmaceutical company and Genetech pioneered the Skyscraper 2 clinical trial, which was the first clinical trial to deliver results in the final stage of testing anti-TIGIT. The trial discovered that when Tiragolumab is combined with chemotherapy along with their immunotherapy Tecentriq, did not increase the rate of survival or decrease the rate of tumour progression as compared to Tecentriq on its own. Levi Garraway, Roche's Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Product Development stated, "Today's outcome is disappointing as we had hoped to continue building on the advances of Tecentriq in extensive stage small-cell lung cancer, which remains difficult to treat."

Stean Schneider, Vontobel analyst said, "Today's result does not change our probability of success for the other (Tiragolumab) trials that we expect to read out later this year. Should Tiragolumab work in combo with Tecentriq - it could have significant peak sales potential." Schneider added that the failure was disappointing as alternative treatments are needed for small cell lung cancer patients. The drug works by binding itself to a receptor found in the immune system, called TIGIT which normally protects healthy cells from an immune attack. Certain cancers developed a mechanism which manipulate TIGIT to replicate unnoticed by cell killing immune cells. Despite the results, Roche is confident in Tiragolumab and a Phase 3 trial in lung cancer is ongoing and additional studies in others types of cancer are planned.