Roche’s pipeline rethink hits 20% of new molecules as cancer candidates join discard pile

Roche has performed a little light spring cleaning, sweeping (PDF) a pair of phase 1 solid tumor drugs and an early-stage psychiatric disorder prospect out of the door as part of its update for the first quarter. The culls are part of a broader refocusing that has removed 20% of new molecules from the pipeline in recent quarters. 

The spring cancer clearout affected belvarafenib and RG6286. Belvarafenib, also known as RG6185 and HM95573, is an oral RAF kinase inhibitor that Roche’s Genentech licensed from Hanmi Pharmaceutical for $80 million upfront in 2016. The candidate was in phase 1 at the time of the deal. Hanmi began a phase 1b study to test belvarafenib in combination with either cobimetinib or cetuximab in 2017.

Hanmi, which retained the rights to the asset in South Korea, published data from the phase 1 trial and an expansion…
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