UPDATE 1-EU body backs new Roche, Astellas, Sanofi, Vivus drugs

Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:23am EDT

LONDON, April 26 (Reuters) - European regulators have recommended approval of two new cancer drugs, called Erivedge and Xtandi, from Roche and Astellas, underscoring a recent pick-up in novel treatments for the disease.

Erivedge is the first medicine for people with advanced forms of basal cell carcinoma, the most common skin cancer, and was approved in the United States in January. Curis, Roche's partner, is entitled to certain payments on the drug.

Xtandi, which Astellas has been working on with Medivation , is designed to treat prostate cancer in men whose cancer has spread despite treatment with hormone therapy and chemotherapy. It won U.S. approval last August.

The European Medicines Agency said on Friday its experts had also backed MAC1, a tissue-engineered medicine for cartilage defects from Sanofi's Genzyme unit, and Spedra, a new erectile dysfunction drug from Vivus.

Recommendations for marketing approval by the EMA's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) are normally endorsed by the European Commission within a couple of months.

In addition, the London-based agency recommended approval for extended use of Celgene's blood cancer drug Revlimid and Roche's rheumatoid arthritis treatment RoActemra.

The news was less good for Pfizer, whose new arthritis pill Xeljanz received a surprise rejection from the EMA, as announced by the company late on Thursday.

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California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

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