Avastin, We Have a Problem

May 15th, 2009 | Sources: NY Times


The makers of Avastin have announced that their favorite blockbuster appears to be ineffective as adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with colon cancer.

couldawouldashouldaThe drug cops $2.7 billion in US revenues alone for G-Tech. It is FDA approved  for late-stage cancers of the breast, colon and lung.

In such settings, Avastin prolongs life by a few months.

The new trial was designed to see how useful the cancer fighter might be in preventing recurrent disease if given immediately following surgery to remove the tumor; in other words, early on in the course of the disease.

A positive study would probably have quadrupled revenues for G-Tech, which was recently acquired by Roche after a lengthy, tumultuous negotiation

The 2 companies vowed to press their efforts to find another way for Avastin to crack the larger market.

“Our initial review of the data leads us to…believe Avastin may be active in patients with early-stage colon cancer,” G-Tech’s CMO Hal Barron insisted to the New York Times.

The companies did not actually release findings from their trial, other than to say it was negative. They’ll be mining the heck out of the data, that means, until their full presentation which will be delivered at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meetings later this month. 

snakeeyesDuring the abovementioned negotiations, G-Tech set the odds for Avastin’s success in this trial to be 61%.

Roche had pegged it at 55%.

Roche clearly wanted to close the acquisition before results of the trial were announced, assuming that its success would bump G-Tech’s stock price through the roof and queer the deal.

It looks now like had the Swiss giant waited, it could have paid a lot less.


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