ZURICH, March 28 Swiss drugmaker Roche
said on Friday that European regulators have approved a new
timesaving formulation of its blood cancer drug MabThera, which
it hopes will help extend the medicine's shelf life.
The European Commission has given the nod to a new
subcutaneous formulation of MabThera for common forms of
non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, which cuts down treatment time to five
minutes from the 2.5 hours it takes to administer the drug
The green light for this new MabThera formulation follows on
from the European approval for a subcutaneous form of its breast
cancer drug Herceptin last September.
Roche is banking on these new timesaving formulations to
help prolong the shelf life of its older biotech drugs MabThera
and Herceptin even as they lose patent protection.
It is also building its defences by bringing out so-called
follow-on products, which are better versions of its mainstay
Last November, U.S. health regulators approved its drug
Gazyva as a treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
Roche is also testing the drug in patients with non-Hodgkin's
The drugmaker has also won approval for two new breast
cancer drugs, Perjeta and Kadcyla.
(Reporting by Caroline Copley. Editing by Jane Merriman)