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Roche Sees Soaring Revenue from Its Bladder Cancer Treatment

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Sep. 16 2016, Updated 10:04 a.m. ET

Roche’s Tecentriq

Roche’s (RHHBY) Tecentriq is a programmed death ligand-1 (or PD-L1) inhibitor that is already approved by the FDA for the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma, commonly referred to as bladder cancer.

Roche is focused on developing personalized cancer immunotherapy that will provide treatment options for the patient. As a part its personalized cancer immunotherapy program, the company has developed more than 20 compounds.

From these 20 compounds, nine are under clinical trials, including Tecentriq. The above chart shows the expected revenue stream for Tecentriq over the next few quarters.

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What is Tecentriq?

The international non-proprietary name of Tecentriq is atezolizumab. Tecentriq is a monoclonal antibody that is designed to bind with a protein called programmed death ligand-1 on tumor cells and tumor-sensitive immune cells. This binding action suppresses the growth of T-cells, the activities of T-killer cells, and cytokine production, thereby blocking PD-L1 activity to decrease tumor growth.

The company also released positive data of its OAK study, the Phase III study evaluating the use of Tecentriq for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer. Lung cancer is an important opportunity in the US markets for all pharmaceutical companies.

If Tecentriq is approved for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, the drug will directly compete with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY) Opdivo, AstraZeneca’s (AZN) Iressa and Tagrisso, and Merck’s (MRK) Keytruda. We’ll discuss these drugs later in this series.

For diversified risk, investors can consider the iShares Global Healthcare ETF (IXJ), which holds 4.2% of its total assets in Roche Holdings (RHHBY).

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