Roche skin cancer drug meets main goal in combination study

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ZURICH -An experimental drug Roche helped with an advanced form of skin live longer without their disease worsening when used in combination with another , the Swiss drugmaker said Monday.

Pharmaceutical companies are looking combination therapy yield better results and drug cocktails are expected be crucial as oncologists block multiple fronts.

Cobimetinib, which is being developed in collaboration with Exelixis Inc, is designed be used with another Roche drug called Zelboraf for patients with tumors that have a mutation in a gene known as BRAF that allows melanoma cells grow.

About half of all melanomas have the genetic aberration the target.

Results of a Phase III study involving 495 patients previously untreated for advanced melanoma found those taking both lived significantly longer without their disease worsening compared to those taking Zelboraf alone.[eap_ad_2]

Roche plans to present the results at an upcoming medical meeting and said would file the data for approval with health regulators .

Melanoma globally afflicts more than 232,000 new each year. While generally curable if caught early, is of the deadliest cancers in its advanced stages and there are few options.

Cobimetinib works by blocking the activity of a protein called MEK, while Zelboraf – which is already approved in more than 80 countries – binds to the mutant protein BRAF.

Roche is also investigating cobimetinib in combination with experimental medicines, including an immunotherapy for the of non-small cell lung and colorectal .(Reuters)[eap_ad_3]