Senior Correspondent, London
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Sep 30, 2014
Sep 30, 2014

New cancer therapy comes of age, cost a “toxic” side effect

MADRID (Reuters) – A raft of new cancer drugs promise better, longer-lasting treatments with fewer adverse side effects — but their high cost is a growing concern.

Drugs that help the body’s own immune cells fight tumors are expected to be used in multi-drug cocktails, pushing the price of therapies costing more than $100,000 a year even higher.

Sep 30, 2014
Sep 29, 2014

Roche, GSK melanoma pill combinations look similar in showdown

MADRID, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Rival two-pill combinations for
melanoma from Roche and GlaxoSmithKline had
similarly good results in separate clinical trials, leaving
doctors with little to choose between the two skin cancer
courses.

The latest findings will fuel a wider debate about the
optimal treatment of melanoma as a new generation of
immune-stimulating injections offers an alternative way to fight
the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Sep 29, 2014

Hundreds of firms join global hunt for copycat biotech drugs

By Ben Hirschler

(Reuters) – Hundreds of companies around the world are chasing an emerging market for cheaper copies of costly biotech drugs, with more than 700 so-called biosimilars now in development or already approved, according to a major study of the sector.

Biotech medicines – made from proteins and other large molecules – account for six of the 10 biggest-selling drugs in the world today, led by AbbVie’s $12 billion-a-year rheumatoid arthritis injection Humira.

Sep 29, 2014
Sep 29, 2014

Bristol immune drug shows strong effect in melanoma study

MADRID (Reuters) – Bristol-Myers Squibb’s immunotherapy drug Opdivo produced markedly improved response rates with fewer toxic side effects compared to chemotherapy in a major melanoma study, underscoring its potential as a new treatment option.

The data has been keenly awaited since this is the first presentation of results from a pivotal Phase III clinical trial of a promising new class of drugs designed to help the body’s own immune system fight cancer.

Sep 29, 2014

Roche, GSK cancer pill combos look similar in showdown

MADRID, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Rival two-pill combinations for
melanoma from Roche and GlaxoSmithKline have
yielded similar results in separate clinical trials, leaving
doctors with little to choose between the two regimens.

Roche’s combination is not yet available but GSK is already
marketing its combined treatment, though it now plans to sell
the drugs involved and other oncology products to Novartis
under a deal announced in April.

Sep 28, 2014

Gain from adding Roche’s Avastin to immune drug unclear

MADRID, Sept 28 (Reuters) – It is too early to say whether
combining Roche’s best-selling Avastin cancer drug with
the company’s experimental immune-boosting medicine MPDL3280A
gives a better outcome in fighting tumours.

That is the verdict of experts following a presentation of a
small clinical study assessing the combination in patients with
a variety of solid tumours.

Sep 28, 2014

Roche breast cancer drug “unprecedented” in extending lives

MADRID, Sept 28 (Reuters) – A new breast cancer drug from
Roche has shown “unprecedented” benefits in extending
lives in a clinical trial and experts urged its widespread use
for women with an aggressive form of the disease.

Patients with a type of breast cancer known as HER2
positive, which makes up about a quarter of all breast cancers,
who were given Perjeta on top of older medicine Herceptin and
chemotherapy lived 15.7 months longer than those on Herceptin
and chemotherapy alone.

    • About Ben

      "Ben Hirschler is European pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and healthcare correspondent, based in London. Previously, he was in charge of British company news and before that was posted to Johannesburg, covering the economic challenges facing post-apartheid South Africa."
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