Roche reports positive results for leukaemia drug in study

ZURICH Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:11am EST

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ZURICH Jan 31 (Reuters) - 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 said on Thursday data from the first late-stage study on GA101 found taking the drug significantly reduced the risk of the disease worsening or death compared with the chemotherapy chlorambucil alone.

The Basel-based drugmaker is banking on the success of GA101 to fend off the threat of so-called biosimilar copies of its cancer and arthritis treatment MabThera, its top seller in 2012 with sales of 6.7 billion Swiss francs ($7.3 billion). (Reporting by Caroline Copley)

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