Media Release

Basel, 11 May 2015

Pivotal data for Roche medicines in lung and blood cancers to be presented at ASCO

  • Roche medicines to be featured in more than 275 abstracts during ASCO 2015
  • New pivotal results for two medicines, investigational ALK inhibitor alectinib in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and Gazyva/Gazyvaro (obinutuzumab) in indolent non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
  • Important data in advanced NSCLC for investigational cancer immunotherapy, MPDL3280A (anti-PDL1)
  • In addition, updated results for investigational medicine cobimetinib in advanced BRAF-mutated melanoma, as well as Perjeta for the neoadjuvant (pre-surgery) treatment of people with HER2-positive early breast cancer

Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) today announced that data from 10 of its approved cancer medicines and 10 of its investigational medicines will be presented during the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting from 29th May - 2nd June in Chicago, United States. These data demonstrate the strength of Roche’s oncology pipeline, particularly in cancer immunotherapy and personalised medicine.

“We’re particularly excited about our data in different types of advanced lung cancer, including pivotal data for alectinib and results of the first randomised study of our investigational immunotherapy, MPDL3280A,” said Sandra Horning, M.D., Roche’s Chief Medical Officer and Head, Global Product Development. “These results build upon our long-standing commitment to improve outcomes for people with lung cancer, and we hope these data will help us bring new options to treat this devastating disease.”

Updated results from studies of cobimetinib in combination with Zelboraf will be presented during ASCO. Cobimetinib is currently under review with both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency. Data presented at ASCO for alectinib and Gazyva/Gazyvaro will support submissions for marketing authorisation and for MPDL3280A, Roche is discussing interim data from POPLAR, the large, randomised Phase II study with the FDA as part of its Breakthrough Therapy Designation in lung cancer. Preliminary data will also be presented on investigational medicine venetoclax in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma. The FDA recently granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation to venetoclax for people with relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia who have a genetic abnormality known as 17p deletion.

Further information on Roche’s contribution to the ASCO 2015 scientific program as well as Roche’s wider progress in cancer care will be featured during the Roche media briefing from 09:30 - 11:30 CDT on Friday 29th May at the Chicago Marriott Hotel Downtown Magnificent Mile. This event, independently organized by Roche, is open to journalists from outside the United States who have registered as media with the ASCO 2015 Annual Meeting. To register, please use the following link:

Follow Roche on Twitter via @Roche and keep up to date with ASCO 2015 Annual Meeting news and updates by using the hashtag #ASCO15.

Overview of key presentations featuring Roche medicines at ASCO 2015

MedicineAbstract titleAbstract number
Alectinib (investigational) Efficacy and safety of the ALK inhibitor alectinib in ALK+ non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients who have failed prior crizotinib: An open-label, single-arm, global phase 2 study (NP28673)

#8008 (oral)
Sunday 31st May
08:00, CDT

A phase II, open-label, multicenter study of the ALK inhibitor alectinib in an ALK+ non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) U.S./Canadian population who had progressed on crizotinib (NP28761)#8019 (poster discussion)
Monday 1st June
08:00, CDT
(investigational use)
Bevacizumab 15mg/kg plus cisplatin-pemetrexed (CP) triplet versus CP doublet in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM): Results of the IFCT-GFPC-0701 MAPS randomized phase 3 trial#7500 (oral)
Saturday 30th May 15:00, CDT

Update of progression-free survival (PFS) and correlative biomarker analysis from coBRIM: Phase III study of cobimetinib (cobi) plus vemurafenib (vem) in advanced BRAF-mutated melanoma

#9006 (oral)
Saturday 30th May 13:15, CDT

Extended follow-up results of phase Ib study (BRIM7) of vemurafenib (VEM) with cobimetinib (COBI) in BRAF-mutant melanoma#9020
Monday 1st June
13:15, CDT
(investigational use)

GADOLIN: Primary results from a phase III study of obinutuzumab plus bendamustine compared with bendamustine alone in patients with rituximab-refractory indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma

**To be featured during the daily ASCO Press Conference on Saturday, May 30, 8:00 – 9:00 AM (CDT)**

#LBA8502 (oral)
Monday 1st June
09:45, CDT
MPDL3280A (anti-PDL1)
Efficacy, safety and predictive biomarker results from a randomized phase II study comparing MPDL3280A vs docetaxel in 2L/3L NSCLC (POPLAR)#8010 (oral)
Sunday 31st May
16:30, CDT
Safety and efficacy of MPDL3280A (anti-PDL1) in combination with platinum-based doublet chemotherapy in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)#8030
Monday 1st June
08:00, CDT
A phase Ia study of MPDL3280A (anti-PDL1): Updated response and survival data in urothelial bladder cancer (UBC)#4501 (oral)
Monday 1st June
09:45, CDT
Five-year analysis of the phase II NeoSphere trial evaluating four cycles of neoadjuvant docetaxel (D) and/or trastuzumab (T) and/or pertuzumab (P)#505 (oral)
Monday 1st June
08:00, CDT
Interim results from a dose-escalation study of the BCL-2 inhibitor venetoclax (ABT-199/GDC-0199) plus bendamustine (B) and rituximab (R) in patients (pts) with relapsed/refractory (R/R) Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL).#8535 (poster) discussion)
Sunday, 31st May 8:00, CDT
Phase I interim safety and efficacy of venetoclax (ABT-199/GDC-0199) monotherapy for relapsed/refractory (R/R) multiple myeloma (MM).#8576 (poster discussion)
Sunday, 31st May 8:00, CDT
Phase 1b interim results: Venetoclax (ABT-199/GDC-0199) in combination with bortezomib (BTZ) and dexamethasone (Dex) in relapsed/refractory (R/R) multiple myeloma (MM).#8580 (poster discussion)
Sunday, 31st May 8:00, CDT

Cancer Immunotherapy

For more than 30 years, Roche and Genentech have been developing medicines with the goal to redefine treatment in oncology. Today, we’re investing more than ever in our effort to bring innovative treatment options that help a person’s own immune system fight cancer. Our personalised cancer immunotherapy research and development program includes more than 20 investigational candidates, seven of which are in clinical trials. All studies include the evaluation of biomarkers to guide our development and help identify the right treatment approach for each patient.

MPDL3280A (anti-PDL1) is our most advanced cancer immunotherapy, with 30 active clinical trials. Nine pivotal trials across certain types of lung, bladder, breast and kidney cancer are underway, with two additional pivotal studies slated to begin later this year. We have six ongoing Phase III studies in lung cancer.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a major area of focus and investment for Roche and Genentech, and we are committed to developing new approaches, medicines and tests that can help people with this deadly disease. Our goal is to provide an effective treatment option for every person diagnosed with lung cancer. We currently have two approved medicines to treat certain kinds of lung cancer and more than 10 medicines being developed to target the most common genetic drivers of lung cancer or to boost the immune system to combat the disease.


For more than 20 years, Roche and Genentech have been developing medicines with the goal to redefine treatment in hematology. Roche and Genentech’s pipeline of potential hematology medicines includes an antibody-drug conjugate (anti-CD79b; polatuzumab vedotin), a small molecule antagonist of MDM2 (RG7388) and in collaboration with AbbVie, a small molecule BCL-2 inhibitor (GDC-0199/ABT-199; venetoclax). Roche and Genentech’s dedication to developing novel molecules in hematology expands beyond oncology, with the development of the investigational hemophilia A treatment ACE910.

HER2-positive breast cancer

Roche has been leading research into the HER2 pathway for over 30 years and is committed to improving the health, quality of life and survival for patients with both early and advanced HER2-positive disease.

Roche has developed three innovative medicines that have helped transform the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer: Herceptin, Perjeta and Kadcyla. HER2-positive breast cancer is a particularly aggressive form of the disease that affects approximately 20 percent of patients.1 Over the past 15 years, the outlook for patients with HER2-positive disease has improved to the extent that patients with the disease treated with these innovative medicines now typically experience better outcomes than those patients with less aggressive HER2-negative disease.2

Eligibility for treatment with Roche’s HER2-targeted medicines is determined via a diagnostic test, saving time from the outset by identifying patients who will likely benefit from these medicines at the onset of their disease.

Skin cancer

Roche has been studying new treatments for skin cancer for nearly 20 years. In the last five years, we have brought two new medicines to people with potentially disfiguring or deadly skin cancers. Our two first-in-class approved medicines, Erivedge and Zelboraf, have significantly improved treatment options for advanced stages of the most common and most serious skin cancers. Zelboraf was the first targeted oral medicine to be approved with a companion diagnostic. Erivedge is the first hedgehog pathway inhibitor and first medicine ever approved for advanced forms of the most common skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma. Roche is continuing to study Zelboraf, Erivedge and cobimetinib in several cancer types and diseases, with an emphasis on combinations, including investigational medicines, such as immunotherapies.

About Roche in Oncology

Roche has been working to transform cancer care for more than 50 years, bringing the first specifically designed anti-cancer chemotherapy drug, fluorouracil to patients in 1962. Roche’s commitment to developing innovative medicines and diagnostics for cancers remains steadfast.

The Roche Group’s portfolio of innovative cancer medicines includes: Avastin (bevacizumab); Erivedge (vismodegib); Gazyva/Gazvyaro (obinutuzumab); Herceptin (trastuzumab); Kadcyla (trastuzumab emtamsine); MabThera/Rituxan (rituximab); Perjeta (pertuzumab); Tarceva (erlotinib); Xeloda (capecitabine); Zelboraf (vemurafenib). Furthermore the Group has a robust oncology pipeline focusing on new therapeutic targets and novel combination strategies.

In addition to Roche’s innovative portfolio of cancer medicines, Roche is constantly developing new diagnostic tests that will have a significant impact on disease management for cancer patients. Within Roche there are more than 350 pharmaceutical and diagnostics collaborations, far more than half of which are in the field of oncology. With a broad portfolio of tumor markers for prostate, colorectal, liver, ovarian, breast, stomach, pancreatic and lung cancer, as well as a range of tissue and molecular oncology tests that contribute to personalized cancer care today, Roche is leading a new era of innovation in the fight against cancer.

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and neuroscience. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management. Roche’s personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostics that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. Founded in 1896, Roche has been making important contributions to global health for more than a century. Twenty-four medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and chemotherapy.

In 2014, the Roche Group employed 88,500 people worldwide, invested 8.9 billion Swiss francs in R&D and posted sales of 47.5 billion Swiss francs. 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

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1) Wolff AC, et al. J Clin Oncol 2013; 31(31):3997-4013.
2) Dawood S, et al. J Clin Oncol 2010; 28(1):92-8.