The drug: Avastin
The company: Roche
Estimated worldwide sales 2012: $5.98 billion
Avastin has been a top-earner for years. And despite some significant regulatory setbacks, its sales continue to grow.
Widespread controversy attended the FDA's decision to yank its approval to use Avastin for breast cancer. And with Avastin on the market, sales of the specially-adapted Lucentis for wet AMD have been seriously blunted. But when U.K. doctors request special funding for cancer drug, Roche's ($RHHBY) Avastin tops the list. Of the more than 10,000 petitions to the cancer drugs fund from April 2011 to March 2012, almost 25% were for Avastin, even though the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence isn't sold on Avastin as a breast cancer drug.
Still, the drug showed promising results as a brain tumor therapy. Roche said that adding the drug to radiation and chemotherapy resulted in extended progression-free survival. And the pharma giant earned a recommendation in Europe recently for ovarian cancer. With the patent expiration on hold until 2019 in the U.S. and 2022 in Europe, Roche has quite some time to continue to reap a significant sales harvest from this drug.
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