Breast-cancer uptake boosts Avastin sales

Avastin may have lost its chance to go on the U.K.'s National Health Service formulary, but it's still blowing past sales expectations. Wall Street analysts are saying that faster-than-expected uptake of Avastin in breast cancer--for which it was FDA-approved in February--likely has boosted the Genentech cancer med past second-quarter forecasts. According to investor notes, Avastin sales grew 4.6 percent in May to surpass one analyst's $648 million monthly estimate; another analyst pegs second-quarter sales at $677 million.

Genetech's other two revenue drivers--the rheumatoid arthritis treatment Rituxan and breast-cancer med Herceptin--also appear to be beating their targets.

If Avastin does make a forecast-beating showing when Genentech posts its results July 14, it would be a vindication for the company: When the drug got FDA's blessing for breast-cancer use, some skeptics predicted it wouldn't be adopted quickly. Indeed, an FDA advisory panel voted against approval. In its breast cancer trials, Avastin did slow tumor growth, but didn't help patients live longer. The agency's blessing came despite the committee's doubts, and industry observers said the decision appeared to lower the bar for cancer approvals.

- read the article in Forbes

ALSO: Avastin "significantly" boosted survival in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer whether or not the patients carried a gene mutation that commonly influences the efficacy of cancer drugs, a new study showed. Release