FDA Approves New Use for Roche's Avastin

Health care firm Roche (NASDAQOTH: RHHBY  ) announced in a press release Thursday that the FDA has approved a new indication for its cancer drug Avastin. The new usage will allow Roche to market Avastin, in combination with chemotherapy, as a second-line regimen for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

Avastin had previously been approved by the FDA as a first-line treatment with chemotherapy, but the latest ruling allows for patients to continue with the drug along with new chemotherapy types if the first treatment fails. This marks the third indication in metastatic colorectal cancer approved for Avastin.

Dr. Hal Barron, Roche chief medical officer and head of global product development, explained the success of the new approval in the release, saying, "The majority of people diagnosed with metastatic colorectal cancer receive Avastin plus chemotherapy as their initial treatment... These people now have the option to continue with Avastin plus a new chemotherapy after their cancer worsens, which may help them live longer than changing to the new chemotherapy alone."

Avastin is already a top seller for Roche.  European regulators also recently cleared the drug to be used to fight a type of ovarian cancer.

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