FDA OKs Roche’s Cotellic for MelanomaBy
The US Food and Drug Administration today approved Roche/Genentech’s Cotellic (cobimetinib) to be used in combination with vemurafenib to treat advanced melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body or can't be removed by surgery, and that has a certain type of abnormal gene (BRAF V600E or V600K mutation).
Cotellic works by blocking the activity of an enzyme known as MEK, which is part of a larger signaling pathway. Abnormal activity of signaling pathways can lead to cancer. Cotellic prevents or slows cancer cell growth. Vemurafenib, marketed in the US, as Zelboraf by Roche/Genentech, is a BRAF inhibitor that affects a different part of the same pathway and was approved in 2011 to treat patients with melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body or cannot be removed by surgery, whose tumors express a gene mutation called BRAF V600E, as detected by an FDA approved test. Healthcare providers should confirm the presence of BRAF V600 E or V600K mutation in their patients' tumor specimens using one of the available FDA approved tests prior to starting treatment with Cotellic in combination with vemurafenib.
Cotellic was reviewed under the FDA's priority review program that provides for an expedited six-month review of drugs that, at the time the application was submitted, have the potential to be a significant improvement in safety or effectiveness in the treatment of a serious condition. Cotellic also received orphan drug designation, which provides incentives such as tax credits, user fee waivers and eligibility for orphan drug exclusivity to assist and encourage the development of drugs for rare diseases.
Source: US Food and Drug Administration