Gilead Sciences, Pharmasset and Roche
Gilead Sciences agreed to pay almost $11 billion for biotech firm Pharmasset, which is developing an all-oral therapy for treating hepatitis C virus. Dubbed PSI-7977, the drug just entered Phase III testing, and analysts say it could become the preferred option for care if it works without the injectable drug interferon, which has flulike side effects.
The FDA said Friday that it was revoking its approval of Roche's Avastin (bevacizumab) for breast cancer after concluding that it has not been shown to be safe and effective for that use. Avastin will remain on the market for certain types of colon, lung, kidney and brain cancer, said FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg. Doctors can still prescribe it off-label for breast cancer, but insurers may no longer pay for the drug, which costs $88,000 a year. Medicare said it would still provide coverage for that use.