Genentech’s Avastin wins lung cancer approval

The FDA yesterday approved Genentech’s Avastin for use in treating non-small cell lung cancer. This latest approval means Avastin can now be prescribed, in combination with two chemotherapy drugs, as a first-line treatment of lung cancer tumors that have grown, recurred or spread to other parts of the body. Avastin was initially approved in February 2004 as a treatment for advanced colorectal cancer. Genentech also announced yesterday that it would cap the yearly cost of Avastin to $55,000 per patient receiving the drug for an FDA-approved use, regardless of whether the patient has insurance. Genentech said the new policy would go into effect beginning in January of 2007. Avastin sales for the third quarter of 2006 totaled $435 million, up 34% from a year earlier, according to Genentech sales figures.