Roche Pharmaceuticals

Tarceva Receives Positive Opinion in Europe for Maintenance Treatment of Advanced Lung Cancer

Basel, Switzerland, March 19, 2010 (ots/PRNewswire) - Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) today announced that the European Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has issued a positive opinion for use of Tarceva(R) (erlotinib) as a maintenance therapy for people with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and stable disease (cancer remains largely unchanged) after initial chemotherapy. The CHMP positive opinion clears the way for European Union approval and means that this group of patients may soon be able to benefit from earlier treatment with Tarceva.

"Advanced lung cancer is an aggressive disease and when the cancer grows or spreads the health of many patients deteriorates rapidly. By giving Tarceva earlier after chemotherapy, instead of waiting for the disease to progress, we can help more patients live longer without their disease getting worse", said Professor Federico Cappuzzo, M.D., Head of Oncology Unit, Livorno Hospital, Italy and principal investigator of the SATURN trial.

The CHMP positive opinion is based on data from the pivotal phase III SATURN trial[1]. SATURN showed that Tarceva given as maintenance therapy early after first-line chemotherapy helped delay disease progression (PFS) and extended overall survival (OS) compared to placebo in a broad range of advanced NSCLC patients. Patients with stable disease (SD) had a more pronounced OS benefit when Tarceva maintenance therapy was given. This new approach to treatment would therefore offer these patients, whose cancer can often progress rapidly, a new and effective oral option to continue treating their disease.

Tarceva is already approved in the EU for the second-line treatment of patients with advanced NSCLC [2].

Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide with 1.5 million new cases annually[3] and NSCLC accounts for almost 85% of all lung cancers[4]. NSCLC progresses rapidly; less than 5% of advanced NSCLC patients survive for five years[4]. Extending the time patients with NSCLC live and managing side effects of treatment are key treatment goals.

    About SATURN
    - A global multicentre, double-blind, randomised, prospective phase III
    study to evaluate the efficacy of Tarceva compared to placebo in patients
    with advanced, recurrent or metastatic NSCLC whose disease had not
    progressed following first line platinum-based chemotherapy. The study
    involved more than 880 patients from approximately 160 centres; 438
    received Tarceva and 451 placebo. It showed a statistically significant
    improvement in both PFS and OS for Tarceva recipients compared to
    placebo[1].
    - The statistically significant improvement in both PFS and OS
    demonstrated in the group of patients with SD was greater than that shown
    in the overall population. Data for patients with SD will be presented at
    a forthcoming scientific meeting.
    - There were no new or unexpected safety signals in the SATURN study and
    adverse events were consistent with those previously reported for Tarceva
    in NSCLC. 

About Tarceva

Tarceva is different from conventional chemotherapies and has been shown to potently inhibit EGFR. It is the first and only EGFR oral targeted agent in second-line with a proven and significant survival and symptom benefit in a broad range of patients with advanced lung cancer without the side effects associated with chemotherapy. Tarceva has been approved in the EU since September 2005 and in the US since November 2004 for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC with or without EGFR activating mutations after failure of at least one prior chemotherapy regimen.

Furthermore, Tarceva in combination with chemotherapy is the first treatment in over a decade to have shown a significant survival benefit in treating patients with pancreatic cancer. It is approved in the US in combination with gemcitabine for the first line treatment of patients with locally advanced, unresectable or metastatic pancreatic cancer and in the EU for treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer.

About Roche

Information about the Roche Group is available on the Internet at http://www.roche.com .

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References

[1] Cappuzzo, F et al. Abstract 22LBA. Eur J Canc Supplements, Vol 7, Issue 3, 2009.

[2] Shepherd FA et al. N Engl J Med 2005; 353:123-132.

[3] Garcia M et al. Global Cancer Facts & Figures. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society, 2007.

[4] Allen J et al. J Natl Compr Canc Netw 2008; 6(3): 285-93.

Contact:

CONTACT:  For further information please contact: Federico Maiardi, 
Roche,Tel: +41-61-688-7946, Mobile: +41-79-264-3978,
federico.maiardi@roche.comor Rosemary Hennings, Galliard, Tel:
+44-20-7663-2253, Mobile:+44-7799-411-325, email:
rhennings@galliardhealth.com
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