ImmunoGen rises on partner Roche’s drug results

ImmunoGen Inc. surged 17 percent in early trading after partner Roche Holding AG said its experimental breast cancer drug significantly extended the lives of patients when compared with standard therapy.

ImmunoGen, a biotechnology company that develops anticancer products, increased to $16.20 at 8:13 a.m. New York time. The Waltham-based company rose 32 percent in the 12 months before today.

The treatment, dubbed T-DM1, for people with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, combines Basel, Switzerland-based Roche’s Herceptin with ImmunoGen’s technology that helps the treatment carry chemotherapy directly into malignant cells while bypassing healthy ones. The data will be presented at a future medical meeting, Roche said in a statement today.

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“We look forward to working with regulatory authorities in the hope of bringing another potential treatment option to people with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer,” Hal Barron, chief medical officer and head of global product development for Roche’s Genentech unit, said in a statement.

The study compared T-DM1 to GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Tykerb approved in 2007 and Genentech’s Xeloda, an oral chemotherapy treatment approved in 1998.

Roche presented trial results in June showing T-DM1 delayed tumors longer and with fewer side effects than established therapy. Roche plans to offer the treatment to patients, under certain circumstances, who can’t participate in a trial. The company submitted an application to the FDA for review, Roche said in the statement today.

There are about 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the US and about 227,000 new cases in women estimated this year, according to the American Cancer Society.