Roche’s Genentech has received FDA approval for an immunotherapy targeting the highly sought-after PD-L1. The treatment may be able to outperform its competitors in lung cancer therapies.
In May, Roche received approval for Tecentriq (atezolizumab) in bladder cancer. Now, the drug is expanding its indications to become the first and only cancer immunotherapy in the market to target the checkpoint inhibitor Program-Death ligand 1 (PD-L1) in metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
PD-L1 is a tumor protein that can bind to T-cell PD-1 receptors to inhibit the immune response. Tecentriq inhibits PD-L1 to enhance the ability of the immune system to attack cancer cells. Roche’s new therapy can prolong the patients’ life a median of 4 months longer than chemotherapy, which is an important step forward in patient care.
Everyone’s after checkpoint inhibitors to activate the immune response in cancer. And PD-L1 and its receptor PD-1 are particularly appealing to Biotechs: BMS’ Opdivo used to lead PD-L1 therapies for lung cancer but after failed clinical trials now focuses on leukemia.