Roche's new FDA-approved breast cancer drug works well in study

Women with an aggressive type of breast cancer lived significantly longer when treated with Roche's new drug Perjeta, the Swiss drug maker said Friday.

Roche said a late-stage clinical trial, dubbed CLEOPATRA, showed that Perjeta, or pertuzumab, helped people with HER-2 positive metastatic breast cancer when taken in combination with Roche's cancer medicine Herceptin and chemotherapy live longer without their disease progressing, compared to those treated with Herceptin and chemotherapy alone.

Perjeta targets the HER2 receptor, a protein found in high quantities on the outside of cancer cells in HER2-positive cancers, which affects about 15 to 20 percent of all breast cancer patients.

The drug was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Roche is hoping the drug could bring about a change in the standard of care for this aggressive disease as the Basel-based drug company works to protect its strong franchise.