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Breakthrough cancer treatment Avastin receives first approval in the US

Roche today announced that Genentech has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Avastin (bevacizumab, rhuMAb-VEGF), an innovative new cancer drug, to be used with intravenous 5-Fluorouracil-based chemotherapy as treatment for patients with previously untreated metastatic cancer of the colon or rectum (first-line treatment). Genentech will market Avastin in the US and expects it to be shipped within three days.

The US approval is based on data from a pivotal Phase III study in over 900 metastatic colorectal cancer patients which demonstrated that patients treated with Avastin plus IFL chemotherapy had a median survival advantage close to five months, compared to patients on chemotherapy alone (20.3 months versus 15.6 months). This represents the largest improvement in survival time reported in a Phase III clinical study attributable to the addition of a single targeted therapy to conventional chemotherapy.

"The remarkable speed with which the FDA has reviewed and approved Avastin is testimony to the groundbreaking scientific and medical importance this treatment brings to cancer patients," said William M. Burns, Head of Roche Pharmaceuticals Division. "This follows a decision by the FDA in 2003 to designate fast track review status to Avastin. In Switzerland and Canada priority review has already been granted and decisions are pending on requests for priority review in the European Union and Australia. We are dedicated to working closely with regulatory authorities to bring Avastin to patients as quickly as possible, particularly as this is the first treatment of its kind."

Avastin is the first anti-angiogenic therapy a totally novel approach to the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. The drug targets VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor), the central mediator of angiogenesis, thus interfering with the blood supply that is critical to the growth of the tumour, its spread throughout the body (metastasis
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Contact: Anna Korving
anna.korving@resolutecommunications.com
44-207-357-8187
Resolute Communications
27-Feb-2004


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