Roche’s first-line NSCLC IMpower131 and IMpower150 Tecentriq studies struggle to find efficacy leverage over Merck’s Keytruda, experts say

07 Jun 2018

Roche’s Tecentriq (atezolizumab) may have fallen behind Merck’s (NYSE:MRK) Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in the first-line non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) population following ASCO releases, experts said.

Heading into ASCO, analysts were looking to analyze full IMpower150 and IMpower131 data to understand the market scenario for Tecentriq versus Keytruda, especially considering the latter’s positive Keynote-189 data of Keytruda/paclitaxel with Eli Lilly’s Alimta (pemetrexed) in nonsquamous NSCLC, which was presented at AACR in April.

IMpower131 compared Tecentriq/carboplatin with paclitaxel or Celgene’s Abraxane (nab-paclitaxel) to carboplatin with paclitaxel or Abraxane. The IMpower150 study evaluated Tecentriq/carboplatin/paclitaxel in combination with Roche’s Avastin (bevacizumab) versus carboplatin/paclitaxel/Avastin in nonsquamous NSCLC.

Keytruda’s overall survival (OS) improvement with chemotherapy in squamous NSCLC in Keynote-407 trial may give it an edge over Tecentriq’s combination in the similarly designed IMpower131study, experts noted. Also, an unfavorable chemotherapy backbone for Tecentriq’s combination in the IMPower150 trial for the nonsquamous population will also generally hamper uptake, they said.

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