The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP)recently provided a positive opinion on the use of Roche Holdings Ltd. 's ( RHHBY ) Avastin (bevacizumab) plus chemotherapy (carboplatin and gemcitabine) to treat women suffering from recurrent, platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer.
Results from the OCEANS study demonstrated that women receiving Avastin and chemotherapy together and thereafter continued with only Avastin survived longer in comparison to women who received only chemotherapy.
We note that in December last year, the European Commission had approved Roche's Avastin plus standard chemotherapy (carboplatin and paclitaxel) as a first-line treatment of women suffering from advanced ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is the eight most commonly diagnosed cancers in women and seventh leading cause of cancer death in women around the world. As per WHO, IARC GLOBOCAN, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide in 2008, around 230,000 women are diagnosed with this cancer and leads the death of 140,000 people globally.
In June this year, Roche had presented positive results from a phase III study, Aurelia, evaluating Avastin plus standard chemotherapy (weekly paclitaxel, topotecan or pegylated liposomal doxorubicin) in ovarian cancer patients whose disease had progressed because of resistance to platinum-containing chemotherapy.
Roche reported that the study demonstrated a 52% reduction in the risk of progression in patients in the Avastin plus chemotherapy arm compared to patients who received only chemotherapy (overall survival of 6.7 months compared to 3.4 months).
We remind investors that Avastin is already approved in the EU for the treatment of advanced stages of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, kidney cancer and ovarian cancer. In the US the drug is approved for several indications including colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and kidney cancer. Roche is currently investigating Avastin in around 500 clinical trials.
Roche, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, carries a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold rating) in the short run.
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