Genentech says Avastin meets key goal in late-stage ovarian cancer study

Monday, June 7, 2010

Genentech’s Avastin meets goals in cancer study

NEW YORK — Genentech on Sunday said its cancer drug Avastin prompted a 39 percent improvement in the likelihood of women with advanced ovarian cancer living longer without the disease progressing.

The company, which is owned by Switzerland-based Roche, said a late-stage study showed that advanced ovarian cancer patients taking Avastin survived for 14.1 months without the disease progressing, compared with 10.1 months of progression-free survival for patients taking only chemotherapy.

Avastin is approved to treat advanced colorectal, breast, lung and kidney cancer. It is Genentech’s key product and was a major factor in Roche’s decision to acquire the company for $46.8 billion in 2009.

Genentech announced the results Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists in Chicago. The study involved 1,873 women.

At the same conference, several other companies unveiled study data for developing ovarian cancer treatments.

Aeterna Zentaris Inc. said its drug candidate AEZS-108 showed “encouraging” treatment and safety goals in a midstage study involving 42 patients. The Canada-based company said five patients had a partial response to the drug, while the disease stabilized in 11 patients for more than 12 weeks. The company estimates the drug had a clinical benefit rate of 38 percent in the study.

Meanwhile, Amgen Inc. said its potential recurrent ovarian cancer treatment showed anti-tumor activity in a midstage study. Patients taking AMG 386 in combination with chemotherapy survived 7.2 months and 5.7 months at separate doses without the disease progressing. That compares with 4.6 months for patients receiving only placebo and chemotherapy. The response rate ranged from 19 percent to 37 percent for AMG 386, compared with 27 percent in the placebo and chemotherapy group.

will not be displayed