By Margarita Snegireva. Genentech Inc. has solved the disputable question over its cancer drug Avastin, a much cheaper alternative to the biotech company's Lucentis for macular degeneration, doctors and the company’s officials reported Thursday.
Avastin works similarly to Lucentis, which was approved last year to treat wet, age-related macular degeneration and quickly became the treatment of choice for the leading cause of blindness among the elderly.
But the price-per-dose of Avastin is about 40 to 50 times cheaper than Lucentis, which costs $2,000, and some doctors have found it works to treat the eye condition, which occurs when abnormal blood vessels behind the retina start to grow.
Now, Genentech and two eye doctors' groups have agreed to a deal whereby doctors can buy Avastin from wholesale pharmacies, which will ship Avastin to compounding pharmacies.
Bevacizumab (trade name Avastin ) is a monoclonal antibody against vascular endothelial growth factor. It is used in the treatment of cancer, where it inhibits tumor growth by blocking the formation of new blood vessels. Bevacizumab was the first clinically available angiogenesis inhibitor in the United States.
Bevacizumab was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004 for use in combination with standard chemotherapy in the treatment of metastatic colon cancer and most forms of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. Currently, several additional late-stage clinical studies are underway to determine its safety and effectiveness for patients with: adjuvant / non-metastatic colon cancer, metastatic breast cancer, metastatic renal cell carcinoma, metastatic glioblastoma multiforme, metastatic ovarian cancer, metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer, and metastatic or unresectable locally advanced pancreatic cancer.
Bevacizumab was developed by Genentech and is marketed in the United States by Genentech and elsewhere by Roche (Genentech's parent company), under the brand name Avastin .