Roche's Stock Takes Off

Roche has so impressed since ASCO with its various drug results - including its "smart bomb" breast cancer drug trastuzumab emtansine (T-DMI) - that the company's stock (RHHBY) shot up on the OTC Markets.

Roche has so impressed since ASCO with its various drug results — including its "smart bomb" breast cancer drug trastuzumab emtansine (T-DMI) — that the company’s stock (RHHBY) shot up on the OTC Markets.

On Friday the stock closed at $38.94 and after the results were released at ASCO, it opened Monday at $39.13. But the real jump occurred on Wednesday morning when the stock opened at $39.36, up from $39. By midday it was up 2.72% to $40.06.

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The Phase III EMILIA study of T-DMI showed that the drug extended the lives of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer and caused fewer side effects. The drug’s chemotherapy can be targeted only at cancer cells, making the treatment more effective.

“The encouraging efficacy, safety profile and quality of life results from the EMILIA study support our belief that trastuzumab emtansine may have an important role for patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer,” Hal Barron, M.D., chief medical officer and head of global product development, said in a statement. “We are working with global regulatory authorities to submit these data as quickly as possible and hope that trastuzumab emtansine will soon be available to patients with this aggressive type of breast cancer.”

The risk of death for those who received T-DMI was reduced by 35% compared to those who received lapatinib plus Xeloda chemotherapy. And while the data was deemed not mature enough, Roche said that patients receiving T-DMI lived longer.

The median progression-free survival rate for patients taking T-DMI was 9.6 months compared to 6.4 months. The one-year survival rate for those receiving T-DMI was 84.7% compared to 77%, and the two-year survival rate was 65.4% versus 47.5%, respectively.

Patients taking T-DMI experienced fewer side effects because of the nature of the “smart bomb” treatment. Only 0.8% of patients taking T-DMI experienced vomiting, compared to 4.5%; none experienced hand-foot syndrome, compared to 16.4%; and only 1.6% experienced diarrhea, compared to 20.7%.

Based on these results, Roche plans to submit applications this year to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency.

On Wednesday, Roche also released a report that its drug for the treatment of arthritis of the spinal column had outperformed Abbott Laboratories’ Humira.

On Yahoo! Finance the price target for Roche Holding AG is $52.05.

The information contained in this article should not be construed as investment advice or as a solicitation to buy or sell any stock.

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