Roche, the European pharma giant, just won regulatory approval for a lung cancer therapy called Tecentriq. Roche is one of a handful of companies that are developing so-called “immunotherapies” to treat cancer by essentially bolstering the body’s own immune system to fight the disease. In recently published study results, patients taking Tencentriq lived on average 4.2 months longer than those on chemotherapy.
The drug was approved for use in non-small cell lung cancer patients previously treated with chemotherapy. It will compete with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo therapy, which is currently on the market. Sales of that drug reached $1.58 billion in the first half of 2016.