Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ZelborafTM (vemurafenib) for the treatment of BRAF V600E mutation-positive, inoperable or metastatic melanoma, as determined by an FDA-approved test. The FDA today also approved the cobas 4800 BRAF V600 Mutation Test, a diagnostic test developed by Roche to identify patients eligible for treatment. Zelboraf is the first and only FDA-approved personalized medicine shown to improve survival in people with BRAF V600E mutation-positive metastatic melanoma, demonstrating the benefits of Roche’s personalized healthcare approach. It is designed to target and inhibit some mutated forms of the BRAF protein found in about half of all cases of melanoma, the deadliest and most aggressive form of skin cancer.
“The FDA approval of Zelboraf marks a major step forward in personalizing the treatment of metastatic melanoma, a devastating disease that until this year had limited approved treatment options,” said Hal Barron, M.D., chief medical officer and head, Global Product Development. “We will continue to study this medicine with a goal of further improving outcomes for people with melanoma and other cancers that are driven by BRAF mutations.”
Zelboraf should be used only in people whose inoperable or metastatic melanoma carries a BRAF V600E mutation, which can be determined by the FDA-approved cobas BRAF Mutation Test.
“The cobas BRAF Mutation Test has improved sensitivity, accuracy and speed compared to other commonly used, unapproved detection methods,” said Paul Brown, head of Roche Molecular Systems. “With a personalized medicine now available, all people diagnosed with inoperable or metastatic melanoma should be tested to help determine the best options for treatment.”
Zelboraf will be available in the United States within two weeks of approval and will be distributed through specialty pharmacies (mail-order pharmacies). For more information about Zelboraf distribution, doctors can contact Zelboraf Access Solutions (http://www.GenentechAccessSolutions.com or 1-888-249-4918). Zelboraf Access Solutions also provides doctors and patients coverage and reimbursement support, patient assistance and information resources.
Roche has also submitted new drug applications for Zelboraf in the EU, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, India, Mexico and Canada. While Roche seeks regulatory approval of Zelboraf in other countries, a global Expanded Access Program (EAP) is available for people with previously treated or untreated BRAF V600 mutation-positive metastatic melanoma.