Roche’s GAZYVARO approved in Switzerland for people with previously untreated follicular lymphoma which are in need of systemic treatment

Basel, 25 July 2017

  • Approval is based on phase III GALLIUM study results, which showed superior progression free survival for GAZYVARO compared to MabThera®
  • In the GALLIUM study more than 1’200 patients with follicular lymphoma were included 

Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) announced today that the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic) has approved GAZYVARO® (Obinutuzumab) in combination with chemotherapy, followed by GAZYVARO maintenance for the treatment of patients with previously untreated follicular lymphoma which are in need of systemic treatment.1

The approval is based on results from the GALLIUM study, the first phase III study in follicular lymphoma to show superior progression-free survival (PFS) over MabThera based treatment, the current standard of care.

“We are pleased that with today’s approval of GAZYVARO in Switzerland, patients now have an improved initial treatment option available to them,” said Prof. Dr. Anja-Alexandra Duenne, Medical Director, Roche Pharma (Switzerland) Ltd. “By challenging head-to-head our own medicine MabThera, we have been able to set a new standard of care for people with follicular lymphoma.”

Results from the phase III GALLIUM study showed that GAZYVARO based treatment reduced the risk of disease progression or death (progression free survival, PFS, the primary endpoint of the study), as evaluated by investigator assessment, by 34 percent (HR=0.66; 95% CI 0.51-0.85, p=0.001) compared to MabThera based treatment.2 Study was read out early per IDMC recommendation after pre-planned interim efficacy analysis.

Based on the PFS HR of 0.66 an extrapolation of the data leads to a median PFS of 9 years with GAZYVARO compared to 6 years median PFS with MabThera and therefore to an extension of 3 years for the median PFS.2 Adverse events with either GAZYVARO or MabThera were consistent with those seen in previous studies.2

This is the third approval for GAZYVARO in Switzerland. It was approved in 2014 for first-line treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and in 2016 for recurrent follicular lymphoma.

About the GALLIUM study2

GALLIUM (NCT01332968) is a global Phase III open-label, multi-centre, randomised two-arm study examining the efficacy and safety GAZYVARO plus chemotherapy followed by GAZYVARO maintenance, as compared head-to-head against MabThera plus chemotherapy followed by MabThera maintenance for two years or until disease progression. Chemotherapies used were CHOP, CVP or bendamustine and were selected by each participating study site prior to beginning enrolment. GALLIUM included 1’401 patients with previously untreated indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (iNHL), of which 1’202 patients had follicular lymphoma. The primary endpoint of the study was investigator-assessed PFS in patients with follicular lymphoma, with secondary endpoints including PFS assessed by independent review committee (IRC), PFS in the overall study population (iNHL), response rate (overall response, ORR; and complete response, CR), overall survival (OS), and safety. The GALLIUM study is being conducted in cooperation with the NCRI (United Kingdom), GLSG (Germany), the East German Study Group Hematology and Oncology (OSHO; Germany). 

About GAZYVARO (obinutuzumab)

GAZYVARO is an engineered monoclonal antibody designed to attach to CD20, a protein expressed on certain B cells, but not on stem cells or plasma cells. Gazyvaro is designed to attack and destroy targeted B-cells both directly and together with the body's immune system.3,4

GAZYVARO is currently approved in more than 80 countries in combination with chlorambucil, for people with previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), and in combination with bendamustine for people with previously treated follicular lymphoma. The approvals in CLL were based on the CLL11 study, showing significant improvements with GAZYVARO plus chlorambucil across multiple clinical endpoints, including PFS, overall response rate (ORR), complete response rate (CR), and minimal residual disease (MRD) when compared head-to-head with MabThera plus chlorambucil.

The approvals in previously treated follicular lymphoma were based on the phase III GADOLIN study, in people with follicular lymphoma who did not respond to or who progressed during or within six months of prior MabThera based therapy, showing a significant improvement in PFS and overall survival (OS) with GAZYVARO based therapy compared to bendamustine alone.

Additional combination studies investigating GAZYVARO with other approved or investigational medicines, including cancer immunotherapies and small molecule inhibitors, are underway across a range of blood cancers.

About Follicular Lymphoma

Follicular lymphoma is the most common indolent (slow-growing) form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), accounting for about one in five cases of NHL. It is considered incurable and relapse is common. It is estimated that more than 360 people in Switzerland were diagnosed with follicular lymphoma in 2015.5

About Roche in haematology 

For more than 20 years, Roche has been developing medicines that redefine treatment in haematology. In addition to approved medicines MabThera® (rituximab) and GAZYVARO (obinutuzumab), Roche’s pipeline of investigational haematology medicines includes an anti-PDL1 antibody Tecentriq® (atezolizumab), an anti-CD79b antibody drug conjugate (polatuzumab vedotin) and a small molecule antagonist of MDM2 (idasanutlin).

About Roche

Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics under one roof have made Roche the leader in personalised healthcare – a strategy that aims to fit the right treatment to each patient in the best way possible.

Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management.

Founded in 1896, Roche continues to search for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and make a sustainable contribution to society.

The company also aims to improve patient access to medical innovations by working with all relevant stakeholders. Thirty medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and cancer medicines. Roche has been recognised as the Group Leader in sustainability within the Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology & Life Sciences Industry eight years in a row by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI).

The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in over 100 countries and in 2016 employed more than 94,000 people worldwide. In 2016, Roche invested CHF 9.9 billion in R&D and posted sales of CHF 50.6 billion. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit

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  1. Arzneimittelinformation® unter
  2. Marcus R et al. Obinutuzumab-Based Induction and Maintenance Prolongs Progression-Free Survival (PFS) in Patients with Previously Untreated Follicular Lymphoma: Primary Results of the Randomized Phase 3 GALLIUM Study. ASH 2016. Abstract 6 and presentation plenary scientific session.
  3. Mössner E, Brünker P, Moser S, et al. Increasing the efficacy of CD20 antibody therapy through the engineering of a new type II anti-CD20 antibody with enhanced direct and immune effector cell–mediated B-cell cytotoxicity. Blood 2010; 115:4393–4402.
  4. Niederfellner G, et al. Epitope characterization and crystal structure of GA101 provide insights into the molecular basis for type I/II distinction of CD20 antibodies. Blood 2011;118:358−67.
  5. Krebsliga Schweiz. Hodgkin- und Non-Hodgkin Lymphome: Lymphdrüsenkrebs – Eine Information der Krebsliga für Betroffene und Angehörige. 3. Auflage (2013). (aufgerufen am 27/04/2016).