Roche's bread-and-butter cancer drugs--Rituxan, Avastin and Herceptin--delivered once again in the third quarter, and now the Swiss drugmaker expects 2015 to turn out better than it previously had forecast.
Partners Amgen and Allergan say their knockoff of Roche's blockbuster Avastin proved itself on par with its reference product, putting the pair a step closer to biting into the cancer drug's billions in annual revenue.
The French government recently said "oui" to Roche's ($RHHBY) cancer drug Avastin as a cheap, off-label treatment for the blinding eye disease wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), prompting a resounding "non" from the pharma industry, which is none-too-pleased with the country's latest move.
Earlier this year, Regeneron scored a win when its eye drug Eylea outperformed a pair of Roche meds in a head-to-head study. And now, that win is paying off.
Celldex has added another round of positive data demonstrating that its brain cancer vaccine rindopepimut--more formally called Rintega and less formally "rindo"--provided a clear though relatively modest average survival benefit for recurrent glioblastoma patients in a Phase II study. And with the initial data set from Phase III looming later in the year, the biotech is carefully moving forward with its ongoing dialogue with regulators to gauge just how receptive they may be to speeding up an approval.
Roche's Avastin has been on the market for more than a decade and boasts a long list of valuable approvals. But Roche is not sitting back the status quo, and continues to submit the drug for new uses. Now, the company racked up yet another OK for Avastin, scoring European approval for the drug in combination with chemotherapy to treat women with advanced cervical cancer months after the company got a similar decision from stateside regulators.
Did Novartis and Roche campaign against study data supporting cheap Avastin eye injections as a substitute for their own purpose-made vision drug Lucentis? The BMJ says they did, aiming to "undermine and divert attention" from trials pitting Lucentis against the much cheaper treatment.
How did Genentech persuade physicians to switch from $50-a-dose Avastin to $2000-a-dose Lucentis? According to The New York Times, consultation payments may have had something to do with it.
A U.S. oncologist who thought he was getting a great deal on drugs that were almost the same thing as Avastin has found they will cost him an extra $2 million and a federal misdemeanor conviction.
Roche's Avastin is now two-for-two on converting recent FDA priority review designations into label expansions. Just three months after the cancer giant nabbed the agency's blessing for use in cervical cancer, regulators have approved the drug in combination with chemotherapy as a treatment for platinum-resistant, recurrent ovarian cancer.