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April 19, 2013 | By Lisa Zamosky
When Maggie Heim had a recurrence of ovarian cancer about a year after her initial treatment, her oncologist suggested that she take what he believed could be a lifesaving drug. There was just one problem: Her insurer wouldn't pay for it. The 59-year-old Hermosa Beach resident inquired about the cost of the treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she received care. To her alarm, she was told that the cancer-fighting drug, Avastin, would set her back as much as $50,000 a month.
November 14, 2010 | By Andrew Leckey
Question: I have heard many good things about Roche Holding. Is it a good investment in light of the new healthcare law? Answer: This Swiss pharmaceutical firm has lost some investment luster. The company has an array of cancer-fighting biotechnology drugs, but its once-robust sales growth has been slowing, the threat of cheaper generic drugs is growing, and the company has suffered setbacks in drug development. To improve its outlook, the company is turning to cost-cutting, with staff reductions expected in a number of markets.
April 23, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
Way back in 2002, Dr. Judah Folkman hit upon a tantalizing weight-loss strategy for obese mice. When given daily injections of a drug designed to fight cancer, their fat melted away. The higer the dose they got, the more fat they lost. Some of the obese mice shed so much weight that they wound up at “near normal body weights,” Folkman and his colleagues reported in this article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Whatever happened to this promising fat-busting drug?
December 4, 2007 | From Times Wire Services
The Food and Drug Administration will ask outside experts Wednesday whether Genentech Inc.'s Avastin should be approved to treat breast cancer, despite mixed results in company studies. After reviewing the South San Francisco firm's data, the agency said patients on Avastin and chemotherapy had slower cancer progression but did not survive longer overall than patients on chemotherapy alone. Shares of Genentech fell $2.75, or 3.6%, to $73.50.
July 9, 2003 | Denise Gellene, Times Staff Writer
Swiss drug maker Roche Holding said Tuesday that it acquired rights to sell Genentech Inc.'s promising experimental colon cancer drug Avastin outside the U.S. Roche owns 59.8% of Genentech, a biotechnology company based in South San Francisco. The Swiss firm has first refusal on international rights to Genentech products, and it already sells Genentech cancer drugs Herceptin and Rituxan abroad. Avastin could receive U.S. regulatory approval this year.
September 26, 2006 | From Reuters
Genentech Inc. has added warnings about a rare brain condition called reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome, or RPLS, in patients using its cancer drug Avastin, the Food and Drug Administration said. The drug's label also now includes information about seven reports of patients who developed holes inside the nose called septum perforations, the FDA said.
September 24, 2005 | Denise Gellene, Times Staff Writer
Genentech Inc. halted a clinical study Friday after ovarian cancer patients taking the drug Avastin suffered serious side effects. After the announcement, Genentech's shares fell. Avastin, already approved for the treatment of colon cancer, is considered Genentech's most promising drug, so investors are sensitive to bad news. Genentech said it stopped accepting participants in the ovarian cancer study after five of 44 patients suffered bowel tears.
June 28, 2006 | From Bloomberg News
Researchers stopped a test of Genentech Inc.'s Avastin cancer drug after the medicine failed to prolong the lives of patients with pancreatic cancer. An independent safety panel told the National Cancer Institute that patients were unlikely to benefit from the treatment, the South San Francisco-based company said. Genentech and partner Roche Holding are proceeding with other studies of Avastin in pancreatic cancer, a Genentech spokeswoman said.
November 18, 2011 | From Reuters
U.S. drug regulators Friday withdrew approval of Roche's Avastin as a treatment for breast cancer, capping a protracted and emotional battle over a drug backed by many survivors of the disease. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said Avastin has not proven safe and effective for breast cancer. The drug will remain on the market for other uses, such as treating types of colon, lung, kidney and brain cancer. Advisers to the FDA paved the way for Friday's decision, recommending against Avastin's use in breast cancer in June.
October 17, 2005 | Denise Gellene, Times Staff Writer
Beverly Hills eye specialist Edgar Thomas swabbed his patient's eye with anesthetic and reached for a syringe. "Now hold very still for me," he told Cecilia Blackfield, as he inserted the needle into the corner of the 90-year-old woman's right eye. The syringe contained Avastin, a Genentech Inc. drug approved to treat advanced cases of colon cancer.
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