ZURICH, July 4 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
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)