Generic name: atezolizumab
2015 sales: N/A
2022 sales: $5.53 billion
Current indications: urothelial carcinoma; non-small cell lung cancer
Roche's Tecentriq took third place in the PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitor race, reaching the market more than a year behind Opdivo and Keytruda, but it got off to a strong start and looks set to gain ground quickly. Sales reached $19 million in just a few weeks on the market in the U.S. for bladder cancer, and it has since nabbed a new indication in lung cancer.
The fact that it was approved first in bladder cancer—ahead of both its rivals—gives Roche an opportunity to build its position in that field as it battles for share in lung cancer and prepares for a follow-up filing in colorectal cancer.
In October 2016, Roche garnered approval for Tecentriq as a second-line therapy for all NSCLC patients regardless of PD-L1 status, allowing it to compete head-to-head with Opdivo and separating it from Keytruda, which requires PD-L1 testing. Roche's trials also tested Tecentriq in a much larger group of patients—more than 1,200 people—than studies which backed Opdivo's and Keytruda's approvals in second-line NSCLC. The company expects to prove that Tecentriq has a more durable effect on cancer than its rivals, with a lower likelihood of toxicity.
Tecentriq will draw on Roche's long heritage and marketing muscle as the leading company worldwide in anticancer biologics such as Avastin, MabThera/Rituxan and Herceptin. But the drugmaker needs it to step up quickly—those blockbuster brands are now all facing biosimilar competition.