Avastin fails stomach-cancer trial

Roche got a big disappointment today: The cancer drug Avastin failed a clinical trial in stomach cancer, one of the new indications the drugmaker had been aiming for. The company had predicted sales for stomach-cancer patients could have reached as high as 1 billion Swiss francs, or $933 million.

Here's the scoop: Avastin failed to meet its primary target of extending overall survival in patients using it in combination with chemotherapy, compared with patients on a combo of placebo and chemotherapy, Roche says. "We are disappointed with these results because treatment options for stomach cancer are limited," CMO Hal Barron says in a statement.

Roche says it didn't find any new safety problems in the trial, and that it'll continue working on other new indications for Avastin. Next up: Data on Avastin use in ovarian cancer, expected sometime in the first half of this year.

- check out Roche's release
- read the Reuters story