Roche receives positive CHMP opinion for Tecentriq as a first-line monotherapy treatment for people with a type of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer
- Recommendation is based on the Phase III IMpower110 study showing that Tecentriq significantly improved overall survival in people with high PD-L1 expression, compared with chemotherapy
- If approved, Tecentriq could offer people with a specific type of lung cancer a chemotherapy-free option in the first-line treatment setting
Basel, 26 March 2021 – Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) today announced that the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has recommended the approval of Tecentriq® (atezolizumab) as a first-line (initial) treatment for adults with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumours have high PD-L1 expression*, with no epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) or anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) genomic tumour aberrations. Based on this recommendation, a final decision regarding the approval of Tecentriq in this disease setting, along with the full details of the approved indication, is expected from the European Commission in the near future.
“Today’s CHMP recommendation is a significant step forward in bringing a new chemotherapy-free treatment with flexible treatment schedules to people in Europe with certain types of lung cancer,” said Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., Roche’s Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Product Development. “We remain committed to providing effective and tailored lung cancer treatment options, and this announcement is an important step toward this goal.”
If approved, Tecentriq would provide a new treatment option, free from chemotherapy-related adverse effects. It will also be the first and only single-agent cancer immunotherapy with three dosing options, allowing administration every two, three or four weeks, giving physicians and patients flexibility to manage their treatment.
The recommendation from the CHMP is based on data from the Phase III IMpower110 study, which showed that Tecentriq monotherapy improved overall survival (OS) by 7.1 months compared with chemotherapy (median OS=20.2 versus 13.1 months; hazard ratio [HR]=0.59, 95% CI: 0.40–0.89; p=0.0106) in people with high PD-L1 expression (TC3 or IC3-wild-type [WT]).1 Safety for Tecentriq appeared to be consistent with its known safety profile, and no new safety signals were identified. Grade 3–4 treatment-related adverse events were reported in 12.9% of people receiving Tecentriq compared with 44.1% of people receiving chemotherapy.2
Tecentriq has shown clinically meaningful benefit in various types of lung cancer, with five currently approved indications in markets around the world. It was the first approved cancer immunotherapy for first-line treatment of adults with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC) in combination with carboplatin and etoposide (chemotherapy). Tecentriq also has four approved indications in NSCLC as either a single agent or in combination with targeted therapies and/or chemotherapies.
Furthermore, Roche has an extensive development programme for Tecentriq, including multiple ongoing and planned Phase III studies across different lung, genitourinary, skin, breast, gastrointestinal, gynaecological, and head and neck cancers. This includes studies evaluating Tecentriq both alone and in combination with other medicines, as well as studies in metastatic, adjuvant and neoadjuvant settings across various tumour types.
*High PD-L1 expression in the indication statement is defined as PD-L1 stained ≥50% of tumour cells [TC] [TC ≥50%] or PD-L1 stained tumour-infiltrating cells [IC] covering ≥10% of the tumour area [IC ≥10%]. PD-L1 staining is the process by which the PD-L1 protein is visualised during testing.
About the IMpower110 study
IMpower110 is a Phase III, randomised, open-label study evaluating the efficacy and safety of Tecentriq monotherapy compared with cisplatin or carboplatin and pemetrexed or gemcitabine (chemotherapy) in PD-L1-selected, chemotherapy-naïve participants with Stage IV non-squamous or squamous NSCLC. The study enrolled 572 people, of whom 554 were in the intention-to-treat WT population, which excluded people with EGFR or ALK genomic tumour aberrations, and were randomised 1:1 to receive:
- Tecentriq monotherapy, until disease progression (or loss of clinical benefit, as assessed by the investigator), unacceptable toxicity or death; or
- Cisplatin or carboplatin (per investigator discretion) combined with either pemetrexed
(non-squamous) or gemcitabine (squamous), followed by maintenance therapy with pemetrexed alone (non-squamous) or best supportive care (squamous) until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity or death.
The primary efficacy endpoint was OS by PD-L1 subgroup (TC3/IC3-WT; TC2,3/IC2,3-WT; and TC1,2,3/IC1,2,3-WT), as determined by the SP142 assay test. Key secondary endpoints included investigator-assessed progression-free survival, objective response rate and duration of response.
At the World Conference on Lung Cancer 2020 (January 2021), an updated, exploratory OS analysis in the PD-L1 high (TC3 or IC3)-WT population showed a continued OS benefit at a median follow-up of 31.3 months (HR=0.76, 95% CI: 0.54–1.09). Median OS in the Tecentriq arm was the same as observed at the previous analysis (20.2 months); in the chemotherapy arm, median OS was 14.7 months.3 Data from this exploratory OS analysis were also submitted to the CHMP.
PD-L1 is a protein expressed on tumour cells and tumour-infiltrating cells, which suppresses the immune response and enables tumour cells to avoid detection by binding to proteins on the surface of immune cells. Immunotherapies such as Tecentriq block PD-L1 from binding to immune cells, allowing the immune system to detect and destroy tumour cells. In IMpower110, patients were classified as PD-L1 high if they had PD-L1 on at least 50% of tumour cells or if PD-L1 expressing tumour-infiltrating cells were covering at least 10% of the tumour area.
Lung cancer is the one of the leading causes of cancer death globally.4 Each year 1.8 million people die as a result of the disease; this translates into more than 4,900 deaths worldwide every day.4 Lung cancer can be broadly divided into two major types: NSCLC and SCLC. NSCLC is the most prevalent type, accounting for around 85% of all cases.5 NSCLC comprises non-squamous and squamous-cell lung cancer, the squamous form of which is characterised by flat cells covering the airway surface when viewed under a microscope.5
Tecentriq is a monoclonal antibody designed to bind with a protein called Programmed Death Ligand-1 (PD-L1), which is expressed on tumour cells and tumour-infiltrating immune cells, blocking its interactions with both PD-1 and B7.1 receptors. By inhibiting PD-L1, Tecentriq may enable the activation of T-cells. Tecentriq is a cancer immunotherapy that has the potential to be used as a foundational combination partner with other immunotherapies, targeted medicines and various chemotherapies across a broad range of cancers. The development of Tecentriq and its clinical programme is based on our greater understanding of how the immune system interacts with tumours and how harnessing a person’s immune system combats cancer more effectively.
Tecentriq is approved in the US, EU and countries around the world, either alone or in combination with targeted therapies and/or chemotherapies in various forms of NSCLC, SCLC, certain types of metastatic urothelial cancer, in PD-L1-positive metastatic triple-negative breast cancer and for hepatocellular carcinoma. In the US, Tecentriq is also approved in combination with Cotellic® (cobimetinib) and Zelboraf® (vemurafenib) for the treatment of people with BRAF V600 mutation-positive advanced melanoma.
About Roche in cancer immunotherapy
Roche’s rigorous pursuit of groundbreaking science has contributed to major therapeutic and diagnostic advances in oncology over the last 50 years, and today, realising the full potential of cancer immunotherapy is a major area of focus. With over 20 molecules in development, Roche is investigating the potential benefits of immunotherapy alone, and in combination with chemotherapy, targeted therapies or other immunotherapies with the goal of providing each person with a treatment tailored to harness their own unique immune system to attack their cancer. Our scientific expertise, coupled with innovative pipeline and extensive partnerships, gives us the confidence to continue pursuing the vision of finding a cure for cancer by ensuring the right treatment for the right patient at the right time.
In addition to Roche’s approved PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor, Tecentriq® (atezolizumab), Roche’s broad cancer immunotherapy pipeline includes other checkpoint inhibitors, such as tiragolumab, a novel cancer immunotherapy designed to bind to TIGIT, individualised neoantigen therapies and T-cell bispecific antibodies.
To learn more about Roche’s scientific-led approach to cancer immunotherapy, please follow this link:
Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics under one roof have made Roche the leader in personalised healthcare – a strategy that aims to fit the right treatment to each patient in the best way possible.
Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management.
Founded in 1896, Roche continues to search for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and make a sustainable contribution to society. The company also aims to improve patient access to medical innovations by working with all relevant stakeholders. More than thirty medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and cancer medicines. Moreover, for the twelfth consecutive year, Roche has been recognised as one of the most sustainable companies in the Pharmaceuticals Industry by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI).
The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in over 100 countries and in 2020 employed more than 100,000 people worldwide. In 2020, Roche invested CHF 12.2 billion in R&D and posted sales of CHF 58.3 billion. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit www.roche.com.
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 Herbst RS, et al. Atezolizumab for first-line treatment of PD-L1-selected patients with NSCLC. N Engl J Med 2020:383:1328–39.
 Supplement to: Herbst RS, et al. Atezolizumab for first-line treatment of PD-L1-selected patients with NSCLC. N Engl J Med 2020;383:1328–39.
 Herbst RS, et al. IMpower110: updated OS analysis of atezolizumab vs platinum-based chemotherapy as first-line treatment in PD-L1–selected NSCLC [WCLC 2020 Poster FP13.03].
 World Health Organization: GLOBOCAN 2020 – Lung Cancer: Estimated cancer incidence, mortality and prevalence worldwide. [Internet; cited March 2021] Available from: https://gco.iarc.fr/today/data/factsheets/cancers/15-Lung-fact-sheet.pdf.
 American Cancer Society: What Is Lung Cancer? [Internet; cited March 2021]: Available from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lung-cancer/about/what-is.html.
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