Roche's Avastin Approved by FDA for Advanced Cervical Cancer - Analyst Blog

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.

Roche ( RHHBY ) 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 Allergan ( AGN ), AstraZeneca ( AZN ), and Gilead Sciences ( GILD ). While Allergan and Gilead Sciences sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), AstraZeneca is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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