Two are better than one
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Two are better than one

12.06.2012 - FDA approves Roche's antibody pertuzumab (Perjeta). Given together with trastuzumab (Herceptin) it will help breast cancer patients.

Basel/Glostrup/Bethesda – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Roche's drug Perjeta (pertuzumab) as combination therapy of people with metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer who have not received HER2 therapy or chemotherapy before. When administered together with Herceptin (trastuzumab) and in combination with standard docetaxel chemotherapy, Perjeta showed an increase in progression-free survival time of 6.1 months. Data stems from a Phase III study, the treatment of the control group was Herceptin and docetaxel chemotherapy alone.

Both the HER2 signaling inhibitor Herceptin and the HER2 dimerisation blocker Perjeta are humanised monoclonal antibodies. And both target the HER2 receptor, a protein found highly enriched on the outside of cells in a kind of breast cancer aptly named HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. However, both drugs act in a complementary fashion, meaning that they target different parts of the HER2 receptor.  Currently, Genentech, the manufacturer of Perjeta, is not able to meet demand. Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said why the approval was given in spite of the shortage: "There's a need for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer and we do not want to delay the drug's availability to patients pending resolution of the production issues relating to further supply." 

In March, Roche filed an EU market authorisation application for the subcutaneous administration of Herceptin which is less invasive and takes less time.

On 12 June, cancer diagnostics company Dako Denmark A/S announced that the FDA has granted market authroisation for its HercepTestand HER2 FISH pharmDxKit as companion diagnostics for pertuzumab.


24.11.2015 After weeks of speculation it is official: US pharma major Pfizer and Irish Botox maker Allergan will merge. With the deal, Pfizer is planning to dodge the high US taxes, causing indignation among US politicians.


23.11.2015 Amidst talk of the IPO window closing and cancelled flotations, diagnostics firms are still striking a chord with investors. Swedish Immunovia and German Curetis are successfully raising public money.


20.11.2015 French Sanofi and British AstraZeneca are giving open innovation a go: The two pharma giants will exchange thousands of compounds – for free.


19.11.2015 French gene editing company Cellectis has granted Servier the rights to bring cancer immunotherapy UCART19 to market. Servier in turn has teamed up with Pfizer to hurry development along.


17.11.2015 The first Italian accelerator specifically for biotech projects has been launched with help from Sofinnova Partners. The plan of BiovelocITA: to help Italy grow into one of Europe’s strongest biotech markets.


13.11.2015 Scientists in Bath, UK, have developed a medical dressing that turns fluorescent green when it detects infection. The researchers hope that the smart burns dressing will help fight antibiotic resistance.


13.11.2015 Out with the old: Roche is discarding four sites with 1,200 staff in an effort to restructure its manufacturing network for small molecules. Instead, a new manufacturing site will be built in Switzerland.


10.11.2015 Algae have many skills, but cancer fighting was not one of them – until now. Researchers from Australia and Germany have genetically engineered diatom algae to accurately deliver chemotherapeutic drugs.


10.11.2015 AstraZeneca has plucked Californian biopharma company ZS Pharma from under Actelion’s nose. The UK company is paying US$2.7bn (€2.5bn) to acquire ZS and its promising hyperkalaemia treatment currently under US regulatory review.


04.11.2015 What biotech stock market slump? Despite all odds, 2015 is set to become a new record year for the European public biotech sector, according to a BIOCOM-study presented at BIO Europe in Munich.


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No liability assumed, Date: 25.11.2015