Roche's PD-L1 drug slows bladder cancer growth in trials
- In clinical trials, atezolizumab shrank tumors in patients with advanced or metastatic urothelial bladder cancer.
- Last year, Roche received breakthrough therapy designation for atezolizumab in people whose metastatic bladder cancer expressed PD-L1.
- Roche is also testing atezolizumab as part of combination therapy with another immunotherapy drug (from Amgen) for treatment of triple-negative breast cancer and colorectal cancer with liver metastases.
Roche is coming into the immunotherapy market a little late, but very strong. While the current focus is on bladder cancer, with excellent early-stage results, other atezolizumab-related research includes breast cancer, colorectal cancer, non-small-cell lung cancer and kidney cancer.
Early entrants into the immunotherapy market, including Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck, which manufacture Opdivo and Keytruda, respectively, have basically cornered the melanoma market. However, the unmet medical need associated with advanced bladder cancer persists, as there have not been any treatment advances in the last 30 years.
Overall, the PD-1/D-L1 market is exploding, with expected gross revenues of roughly $30 billion by 2019.