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Genentech (RHHBY) Says Blood Cancer Drug Met Stage One Goal  
1/31/2013 7:56:02 AM

Roche's GA101 drug significantly improved progression-free survival in people with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), giving the Swiss drugmaker the first signal it may have a viable successor to its current best-selling medicine. Roche is banking on the success of GA101 to fend off the threat of so-called biosimilar copies of cancer treatment MabThera, its top seller in 2012 with sales of 6.7 billion Swiss francs ($7.3 billion). Roche said on Thursday data from the first late-stage study on GA101 found taking the drug together with chlorambucil, a chemotherapy, significantly reduced the risk of the disease worsening or death compared with chlorambucil alone. A second set of data specifically comparing GA101 with MabThera, also known as Rituxan, is due later this year. Daniel O'Day, head of Roche pharmaceuticals had told analysts at a results presentation on Wednesday that Roche was awaiting the results of several studies "to get confidence that this has the potential to give us a significant advantage on MabThera".
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