Finally Approved! Now, About Those Sales...

It's been a long time coming but Roche (NASDAQOTH: RHHBY  ) and ImmunoGen's (NASDAQ: IMGN  ) breast cancer drug T-DM1 is finally approved for sale in the U.S., with a new name, Kadcyla, to boot.

You'll recall -- or maybe you won't if you haven't been investing in the biotech space that long -- that the Food and Drug Administration refused to even look at the application for approval back in 2010. Roche tried to gain accelerated approval based on phase 2 data, but the FDA concluded that the company hadn't tested the drug on patients that had exhausted all their options.

Roche ran a phase 3 trial, which Kadcyla passed with flying colors. The trial would have been necessary even if the FDA had issued an accelerated approval, but Roche could have been collecting revenue from the drug for two years while it waited for the data. ImmunoGen could have collected the $10.5 million milestone payment tied to the approval and started collecting royalties on the sales.

ImmunoGen contributed the DM1 part of T-DM1, a toxic payload conjugated to Roche's antibody using the biotech's Targeted Antibody Payload technology. Kadcyla isn't the first antibody-drug conjugate to hit the market; Seattle Genetics' (NASDAQ: SGEN  ) Adcetris was approved in 2011. The main difference is that Adcetris is based on a previously unapproved antibody, while Kadcyla is a toxic payload linked to Herceptin, which racked up $1.8 billion in U.S. sales last year. Adcetris managed less than a tenth of that albeit treating a much smaller market.

Kadcyla has better efficacy and fewer side effects than Herceptin, but it isn't clear how much of the multibillion-dollar market Kadcyla will take right away. Roche recently got another breast cancer drug, Perjeta, approved for use in combination with Herceptin. ImmunoGen might have to wait until data from a trial testing Kadcyla with Perjeta reads out before Kadcyla starts producing big-time royalties for the biotech.

Resurgence, or dead cat bounce?
Commercializing drugs in the oncology space can often be an uphill battle. Take controversial biotech stock Dendreon as an example. Its shares plummeted in the last year due to poor sales for its cancer vaccine Provenge. While the stock has rebounded in recent months, has the company really solved its underlying problems, or are investors setting themselves up for more disappointment? Our new premium research report on Dendreon answers these questions, and many more, while also outlining just how Dendreon intends to regain its former glory. Claim your copy, and a year of free analyst updates, by clicking here now.

 


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2272558, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 12/21/2014 4:53:23 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement