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Roche takes on Loxo, Bayer in renowned cancer class



MUNICH (Reuters) – Roches entrectinib cancer pills were shown to shrink tumors in 57 percent of patients in a group that can only be identified by genetic profiling, as the Swiss drug maker challenges an alliance of Bayer and Loxo Oncology in a new targeted treatment area.

PHILPHOTO: The logo of the Swiss rhino maker Roche is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, February 1

, 2018. REUTERS / Arnd Wiegmann / Filfoto

The results of the tests on patients with genitomalities known as NTRK merger occurring in less than 1 percent across a variety of tumor types was presented at the annual Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Munich on Sunday.

Germany's Bayer and US partner Loxo, in turn, released data for their competing compound larotrectinib, which improved slightly on previous high-efficiency readings in an enlarged attempt.

Traditionally, oncologists have made decisions based on where in the body a tumor began, and increasingly helped by the growing knowledge of the complex's genetic drivers of cancer.

Under tumor agnostic approach, also known as pan-tumor, drug users leave the original perspective and redistribute patients based only on signature genetic mutations, but real-life success will depend on the rapid spread of extensive gene sequencing tools for tissue samples.

Individually, the mutations are so rare that cancer devices are considered unlikely to run dedicated tests for each.

Roches Foundation Medicine supplies the comprehensive kit that competes with Thermo Fisher Scientific and Caris Life Sciences.

"This is one of the reasons we acquired Foundation Medicine, to do this comprehensive genomic profiling routine and in advance during the disease," said Daniel O & # 39; Day, Head of Roche's Pharmaceuticals Division.

Loxo's larotrectinib pill, co-developed with Bayer, was shown last year to shrink tumors in 75% of patients with NTRK fusion genanomaly, which occurs in the lung, pancreas or more than a dozen other organs.

On Sunday, the response rate of larotrectinib in an enlarged group of 122 attendees – up from 55 at the beginning and now spanning 24 tumor types – turned out to be 81 percent.

Roche said that the readings from the two NTRK merger attempts were not comparable because they consist of different patient types. For example, Loxo's study contained some cancer in children, while Roche plans to investigate them separately.

The Roche compound has been developed to cope with more oncogenic mutations, and last month it revealed data on entrectinib that inhibit tumors in 77 percent of lung cancer patients with a mutation called ROS1.

Merck & Cos Keytruda in May last year became the first drug to win approval for pan-tumor use, although there is still a relatively small market for the mega-selling drug. Bayer and Loxo test a second pan-tumor drug, LOXO-195.

Roche Pharmaceuticals O & # 39; Day welcomed a broader field.

"Both things must happen: You need genomic profiling, and you need enough targeted medication to encourage doctors to make the diagnosis in advance very complete. This is the world we come in."

Although response rates may encouraging a race for more such substances, the need for appropriate gene mutations or mergers will be a high order, "says Ulrik Lassen, of Copenhagen Rigshospitalet, co-authoring the Larotrectinib study.

" You have to shield many patients to find the needle in the harvest bag , and the method is complicated, costly and time consuming. When we get better using these technologies, we can find more oncogenic mergers, and companies will be ready to find agents that target them. "

Roche purchased entrectinib as part of the takeover collaboration with the US Cancer Medicine Specialist Ignyta Inc for $ 1.7 billion, agreed in December last year.

Immuno-oncology remains another major business area for Roche, which also gave positive Results of using Tecentriq drug in a group of breast cancer patients with particularly poor prognosis.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing Dale Hudson

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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