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Roche's Perjeta launches in UK for early breast cancer

Says nearly 2,000 women each year could benefit from its drug

Roche's Perjeta is now licensed for use in the UK as a treatment for early-stage breast cancer, a few weeks after the new indication was approved in Europe.

Perjeta was already approved to treat previously-untreated advanced HER2-positive breast cancer breast cancer but extending its use into early-stage disease could make it a treatment option for around 1,800 additional women in the UK each year, says Roche.

Specifically, it can now also be used can now also be used before surgery for patients with locally advanced, inflammatory or early-stage disease which has high risk of recurrence.  The same indication was approved in the US in 2013.

Perjeta is a HER2 dimerisation inhibitor that works via a different mechanism to Roche's other HER2-targeting drug Herceptin (trastuzumab) and boosts its ability to block cancer cell survival and growth.

The drug is one of the fastest-growing new products in Roche's portfolio, with first-half sales rising 72% to CHF659m ($676m) on the back of rising demand in both early and advanced breast cancer settings in the US and Europe.

Perjeta is well on course to achieve blockbuster sales and - alongside its other new breast cancer therapy Kadcyla (trastuzumab emtansine) help Roche alleviate the impact of biosimilar competition to Herceptin, which started to lose patent protection last year.

Perjeta was however turned down by England's cost-effectiveness watchdog NICE last year , saying its price tag was almost double what it needed to be to make it acceptable for prescribing on the NHS. For now the drug can however be obtained via the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) having escaped the recent culls of covered treatments.

"There is a need to bring effective medicines to patients with cancer earlier," said Andrew Wardley, consultant in Medical Oncology at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust who was an investigator in clinical trials of the drug.

"Perjeta has already shown the longest survival benefit in patients with previously untreated advanced HER2-positive breast cancer, so it is very encouraging to see its authorisation in an earlier setting in order to further improve the long-term outcomes for patients with this aggressive disease," he added. 

Article by
Phil Taylor

1st October 2015

From: Sales



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