ASCO data to shine new light on Pfizer, Roche, J&J drugs

Cancer drug aficionados, rejoice. A slew of new studies goes public later today, as drugmakers gear up for next month's American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. It's the biggest confab for cancer-drug news of the year, and already, companies are jockeying for the spotlight.

We'll let our sister publication FierceBiotech fill you in on the in-development drugs to watch (more here). Our concern is potentially game-changing data on approved drugs. For example, Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Zytiga could find itself a candidate for broader use if data in prostate cancer patients before surgery is strong enough. As MarketWatch reports, at least one analyst has said that new Zytiga uses could fuel sales past $2 billion.

Meanwhile, new data on some key Genentech/Roche ($RHHBY) drugs will make an appearance. A study of Avastin in combination with chemotherapy for metastatic colorectal cancer, in patients who had failed on Avastin plus another chemo regimen, will be highlighted as part of ASCO's press program. So will a study of Avastin-plus-chemo in patients with platinum-resistant, recurrent ovarian cancer. Plus, for those keeping an eye on the targeted melanoma drug Zelboraf, updated overall survival results will be released.

Another interesting example: Pfizer's ($PFE) new, targeted lung cancer drug Xalkori was studied in combination with Roche's Tarceva in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer. It's an early stage, dose-finding study, but it's the first release of data on Xalkori combined with another treatment. There's also a pediatric study examining Xalkori as a treatment for children with advanced cancers with the same ALK gene abnormality that qualifies adults with lung cancer for the treatment.

- check out Genentech's release
- see the release from Pfizer
- get the MarketWatch piece