From $2 Billion To Zip: Failed Roche Drug

In a setback to Roche (RHHBY), the drugmaker has ended a phase III trial of a high-profile diabetes compound after a data and safety monitoring board determined there were safety issues and a lack of efficacy. The drug, known as aleglitazar, was being tested in patients with a recent acute coronary syndrome event and Type 2 diabetes. A Roche spokesman writes us that adverse events included fractures, renal impairment and heart failure.

Analysts had once estimated the drug could generate $2 billion a year in sales.


RHHBY data by YCharts

The decisions marks the second time in the past year that Roche has scuttled development of a medicine that the drugmaker hoped would expand its portfolio well beyond its oncology franchise and into the equally lucrative fields for treating cholesterol and diabetes. The other drug that was scrapped was designed to raise HDL, or good cholesterol (read here).

Analysts, however, had questioned why Roche persisted in testing aleglitazar, which is a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor agonist, when rival drugmakers had already given up on developing such a therapy. Both AstraZeneca (AZN) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) had ended development of this type of medicine back in 2006.

AZN Revenue TTM Chart

AZN Revenue TTM data by YCharts

To read the remainder of this article, go to Pharmalot.

Ed Silverman, a contributing editor of YCharts, is the founder and editor of Pharmalot. He previously reported on the pharmaceutical industry and other business topics for the Star-Ledger of New Jersey, New York Newsday and Investor’s Business Daily. He can be reached at You can also request a demonstration of YCharts Platinum.

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