Roche inadvertently publishes positive interim trial data on lung cancer drug

By Ludwig Burger and Rachel More
BERLIN, Aug 23 (Reuters) – Roche (ROG.S) inadvertently published positive lung cancer drug trial data from an interim analysis, boosting the Swiss drug maker’s shares even though more data will be needed to confirm the treatment’s efficacy.

Roche said on Wednesday that market participants had made it aware of the inadvertent disclosure of an interim data analysis on new immunotherapy tiragolumab, part of an experimental class of drugs known as anti-TIGIT.

In a statement, the company said the data, which was “not mature,” showed an overall survival hazard ratio of 0.81, which means that patients on the drug had a 19% lower mortality rate than those in a parallel group without the drug.

The read-out is not yet statistically significant, meaning that random effects cannot be ruled out with enough certainty, but a Roche spokesperson said researchers would continue to gather trial data, with more solid survival results due to be published in the first quarter of 2024.

The data lifted Roche shares by 5% and sent shares of other companies testing anti-TIGIT drugs higher.

Shares of Merck & Co. (MRK.N) and Gilead Sciences (GILD.O) rose between 1% and 2% in U.S. premarket trading, while those of drug developers iTeos Therapeutics (ITOS.O) and Arcus Biosciences (RCUS.N) surged about 30%.

Last year, the drug’s efficacy was thrown into doubt when study data showed that tiragolumab did not slow disease progression. But investors have been holding out for longer-term data on survival to see whether the treatment still has medical and commercial potential.

Source: Reuters