Business Briefs: Roche, Sanofi, J&J

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The third time was not a charm for Roche, which again failed to get the UK's NICE to approve its oncology drug Avastin for ovarian cancer. The regulator said the company failed to provide additional information to support the recommendation, reported PMLive. Tuesday's rejection followed January's, on the grounds that there wasn't sufficient proof the drug was worth the cost. Although the $6 billion dollar drug remains an oncology stronghold—FDA greenlighted it for colon cancer in January, and it got approvals for non-small cell lung disease and glioblastoma, among others—PMLive pointed out that NICE's decision may still pinch, because the channel ovarian patients can use to get the drug in the UK shuts down in March 2014. The Cancer Drug Fund Program gives patients access to non-NICE approved drugs, but is being supplanted by a value-based pricing system, said PMLive.

Sanofi added a new diabetes design contest—this one for insulin delivery devices. It's called Ignite: The Diabetes Ideas Challenge, and it begins accepting submissions April 8. The challenge, for which ten winners will take home $5,000 each, comes as the company rolls out its 2013 Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge, now in its third year. Data Design Diabetes awards $100,000 to a winner that “uses or produces data for decision-making” for better diabetic health outcomes. Past winners include n4a Diabetes Care Center and Ginger.io.

J&J has recalled 1.9 million blood glucose meters after they failed to operate properly at extremely high glucose levels, LifeScan said yesterday. Three different models did not display a proper warning, turned off, or displayed incorrect levels. A serious adverse event was reported in Europe concerning the blood glucose meter and resulted in a patient death. J&J said “it has not determined whether the OneTouch Verio ProMeter was a causal factor."

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