May 18, 2020 / 8:12 PM / 10 days ago

Roche's Tecentriq wins FDA approval as first-line therapy for some lung cancer forms

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss drugmaker Roche is seen at its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland February 1, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

(This May 18 story corrects paragraph 4 to say Tecentriq won “three” other NSCLC approvals and not “four”)

(Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG’s Genentech unit said on Monday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Tecentriq as a standalone therapy for an advanced form of lung cancer.

The company said the approval has been granted for Tecentriq's use in previously untreated adults with certain types of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), whose tumors express high levels of PD-L1, a protein that may help cancers avoid detection by the immune system. (reut.rs/2ZcrfxH)

The PD-L1 levels are detected using an FDA-approved test.

Tecentriq has already received three other approvals across NSCLC in the United States, including as a single agent or in combination with other therapies.

NSCLC accounts for 80-85% of all lung cancers and is therefore a lucrative yet competitive space for drugmakers. Merck & Co Inc’s Keytruda currently dominates the space.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co’s Opdivo and Yervoy combination won the FDA’s nod last week for use in previously untreated patients with NSCLC, as it jostles with Merck for a slice of the market.

Tecentriq is being tested in multiple ongoing studies, either as a standalone or as part of a cocktail of other therapies, against other forms of cancer such as lung, genitourinary, skin, breast, head and neck.

Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri

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