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Positive Data on Roche's Perjeta

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Roche Holdings Ltd. (RHHBY) recently announced positive results on Perjeta (pertuzumab) from its phase III Cleopatra study. New data from the study showed that patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer survived longer when treated with a combination of Perjeta, Roche’s existing breast cancer drug Herceptin, and docetaxel chemotherapy rather than with Herceptin plus docetaxel chemotherapy.

Earlier this month, the US Food and Drug Administration (:FDA) had approved Perjeta in the above mentioned combination for treating HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer in patients who have not received prior anti-HER2 therapy or chemotherapy for metastatic disease. Results, previously published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that patients treated with Perjeta plus Herceptin and chemotherapy lived 6.1 months longer (on a median basis) than those in the placebo arm without their tumor worsening.

Roche is also seeking European approval of the combination therapy for treatment-naïve HER2- positive metastatic breast cancer patients.

Apart from Herceptin, other treatments in the market for the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer include GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) Tykerb. The strengthening of the breast cancer portfolio at Roche should boost the top line further since the market for breast cancer, the most common form of cancer affecting women globally, offers significant commercial potential. HER2-positive cancer, an aggressive form of breast cancer, affects 15-20% of the total breast cancer population.

Roche, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, carries a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold rating) in the short run.

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