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VA Halts Roche (RHHBY)'s Avastin for Eye Disease; Rival Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (REGN)'s Stock Surges


9/22/2011 7:58:53 AM

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said it has stopped using Roche's Avastin to treat a sight-robbing eye disease as it looks into reports of increased risk of infection. Roche's Lucentis is specifically approved to treat wet age-related macular degeneration -- the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. But its multibillion-dollar a year cancer drug Avastin, which works in a similar manner, is increasingly being used off-label to treat the disease because it costs a fraction of Lucentis when cut into the small doses needed for the eye disease.

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