Japan approves Roche's alectinib for form of advanced lung cancer

ZURICH, July 4 Fri Jul 4, 2014 2:22am EDT

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ZURICH, July 4 (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Roche said on Friday that Japan has become the first country to approve its drug alectinib that is intended to treat patients with a specific form of advanced lung cancer.

Japan's Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare has backed alectinib as a treatment for people with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that is anaplastic lymphoma kinase fusion gene-positive (ALK+).

About four percent of non-small cell lung cancer patients have the specific mutation of the ALK protein for which the drug is targeted. They are often non smokers and younger people.

Pfizer launched its drug Xalkori for ALK+ NSCLC in 2011, while Novartis' Zykadia was approved by U.S. health regulators last November. (Reporting by Caroline Copley, editing by William Hardy)

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