Pipeline updates are highly awaited events in the pharma/biotech
sector as they play an important role in deciding whether or not to
invest in a particular company. These updates provide information
on experimental drugs and at times give an insight into the
commercial potential of the candidate once it is successfully
developed and commercialized.
) received positive news when the FDA approved Avastin in
combination with paclitaxel and cisplatin or paclitaxel and
topotecan for the treatment of women with persistent, recurrent or
metastatic carcinoma of the cervix.
We note that Avastin is already approved in the U.S. for colon
cancer, lung cancer, kidney cancer and cervical cancer. The new
approval for advanced cervical cancer is the fifth indication.
The approval was based on encouraging results from the GOG-0240
study (n=452), which assessed the efficacy and safety profile of
Avastin plus chemotherapy in women suffering from persistent,
recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer. The study met its primary
endpoint of improving overall survival (OS). The data from the
study showed that a statistically significant 26% reduction in the
risk of death for women who received Avastin plus chemotherapy
compared to those who received only chemotherapy.
Earlier in the month, the European Commission (EU) approved the
use of Avastin (bevacizumab) in combination with paclitaxel,
topotecan, or pegylated liposomal doxorubicin chemotherapy as a
treatment for women with recurrent ovarian cancer that is resistant
to platinum-containing chemotherapy.
We note that Avastin is one of the leading drugs for Roche.
Avastin generated sales of CHF 3.1 billion in the first half of
2014. The expansion of Avastin's label for further indications
should further boost Roche's sales.
Roche currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some
better-ranked stocks in the broader healthcare sector include
), AstraZeneca (
), and Gilead Sciences (
). While Allergan and Gilead Sciences sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong
Buy), AstraZeneca is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock.
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