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Advancing Innovation in HER2-Positive Breast Cancer: Jazz’s Research at SABCS 2023

Stefan Faderl, VP, Therapeutic Area Head, Oncology Clinical Development, Jazz Pharmaceuticals

As one of the most prevalent types of cancer in the U.S., breast cancer makes up about 30% of all new cancers in women each year.i While significant progress has been made in the treatment of many types of breast cancer, gaps still remain for certain patient populations living with this disease, including those whose disease has metastasized. For these patients, the 5-year relative survival rate in the U.S. is just 30%.ii

At Jazz, our development team is focused on helping address unmet needs in breast cancer and are proud to be presenting research in metastatic breast cancer (mBC) at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) 2023, an important milestone for us as our focus in oncology continues to expand into new, difficult-to-treat tumor types and stages of disease.

As we advance our oncology development capabilities, we’re continuing to redefine what is possible with innovative research – this includes investigating a bispecific antibody that targets cancers expressing HER2, a protein located in all cells where it plays an important role in cell growth and survival and a well-validated target for anti-tumor therapy in cancers where HER2 is overexpressed.iii

The research we’re presenting at SABCS 2023 focuses specifically on treating mBC with HER2-targeted combination therapies, and we’re excited to share our findings, which further emphasize our commitment to improve the prognosis of patients with difficult-to-treat cancers. mBC is a devastating disease, and patients whose cancer has progressed despite numerous therapeutic options are in high need of novel treatment options – including those that are chemotherapy-free.

HER2 and Its Significance in Breast Cancer

A cancer cell is considered HER2-positive when it expresses higher-than-normal levels of HER2. HER2-overexpression is frequently found across different types of cancers, including biliary tract cancers (BTC), gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma (GEA), as well as breast cancers, of which around 15-20% are HER2-positive, and other rare tumor types.iv,v,vi,,vii HER2-positive cancers tend to grow and spread faster than cancers that are HER2-negative and often have limited treatment options, especially in cases of advanced or metastatic disease.iii

While HER2-positive breast cancer can be more aggressive than other types of breast cancer, it also responds to HER2-targeted treatments, making it a particularly promising area of exploration and a driving force behind Jazz’s decision to advance a novel HER2-targeted therapeutic in the space.viii

Looking Toward the Future

We’re particularly energized by the research Jazz will be presenting at SABCS, which demonstrates the potential of our novel HER2-targeted bispecific antibody as part of a combination therapy in heavily pretreated patients with mBC. These data represent a particularly exciting advancement in a patient population in dire need of more options, and underscore the promise our medicines hold in the treatment of HER2-expressing cancers with persistent unmet needs.

At Jazz, we believe our oncology treatments have the potential to transform the standards of care across many types of cancer and are committed to advancing innovation that addresses treatment gaps in some of the most challenging tumor types. Our data at SABCS are a prime example of this commitment in action, and we look forward to continuing to explore new frontiers in oncology.


  1. American Cancer Society. Key Statistics for Breast Cancer. 2023. Available at Last accessed September 2023.
  2. Breast Cancer – Metastatic: Statistics. 2023. Available at Last accessed February 2023.
  3. Iqbal N, et al. Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2) in Cancers: Overexpression and Therapeutic Implications. Mol Biol Int. 2014;2014:852748.
  4. Galdy S, Lamarca A, McNamara MG, et al. HER2/HER3 pathway in biliary tract malignancies; systematic review and meta-analysis: a potential therapeutic target? Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2017;36(1):141-157.
  5. Abrahao-Machado I.F., et al. HER2 testing in gastric cancer: An update WorldJGastroenterol. 2016;22(19):4619-4625.
  6. Van Custem E., et al. HER2 screening data from ToGA: targeting HER2 in gastric and gastroesophageal junction cancer. Gastric Cancer. 2015;18(3):476-484.
  7. Stroes, C.I., et al. A systematic review of HER2 blockade for the curative treatment of gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma: Successes achieved and opportunities ahead. CancerTreatRev. 2021;99:102249.
  8. Swain SM, Shastry M, Hamilton E. Targeting HER2-positive breast cancer: advances and future directions. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2023 Feb;22(2):101-126. doi: 10.1038/s41573-022-00579-0. Epub 2022 Nov 7. PMID: 36344672; PMCID: PMC9640784.