17 Stories

10 Best US Companies to Work For

The top firm boasts employee 'mindfulness' rooms and 56 paid hours yearly for volunteering

(Newser) - Finding a place to punch in where no one watches the clock all day is every employee's dream, and Fortune has compiled a list of the US companies that just might fit the bill. The magazine looked at feedback from more than 315,000 employees of companies that have... More »

Why Doctors Pick $2K Drug Over Its $50 Cousin

Pricey Lucentis, cheaper Avastin 'same damn molecule': ophthalmologist

(Newser) - The prescription drugs Avastin and Lucentis both fight blindness in the elderly, and they're both made by the same company, Genentech, at what experts say is a similar production cost. The key difference between them: While an Avastin injection costs $50, a shot of Lucentis goes for $2,000.... More »

FDA Approves Pricey New Breast Cancer Drug

Full course of Roche's Kadcyla will cost $94K

(Newser) - The FDA has approved a first-of-a-kind breast cancer medication that targets tumor cells while sparing healthy ones. The drug Kadcyla from Roche combines the established drug Herceptin with a powerful chemotherapy drug and a third chemical linking the medicines together. The chemical keeps the cocktail intact until it binds to... More »

Dangerous Counterfeit Cancer Drug Found in US

Fake Avastin missing active ingredient

(Newser) - A fake version of best-selling anti-cancer drug Avastin has been found in the US. Swiss drugmaker Roche has warned doctors and hospitals to be on the lookout for the counterfeit medication, which lacks the intravenous drug's active ingredient, the Wall Street Journal reports. Samples of the fake drug are... More »

Avastin Results Disappoint on Ovarian Cancer

Genentech won't be seeking US approval anytime soon

(Newser) - Avastin, the blockbuster drug that just lost approval for treating breast cancer , now looks disappointing against ovarian cancer, too. Two studies found it did not improve survival for most of these patients and kept their disease from worsening for only a few months, with more side effects. The Genentech drug... More »

FDA Set to Drop Approval of Avastin for Breast Cancer

Says drug does not help patients live longer

(Newser) - The FDA is moving to revoke its approval of Avastin for the treatment of advanced-stage breast cancer, concluding that the drug doesn't help patients live longer, reports the Washington Post . Regulators took their initial steps yesterday against Avastin, which is the best-selling cancer drug in the world but also one... More »

Big Pharma Lobbyists Put Words Into Reps' Mouths

We 'didn't know' where the language came from, reps plead

(Newser) - Yep, that's an echo you hear in the House chamber. The New York Times has obtained emails showing that language drafted by lobbyists working for biotech giant Genentech made it almost unchanged into statements and speeches made on health care—by Democrats and Republicans alike. A Genentech lawyer told staffers,... More »

Colon Cancer Drug Flunks Important Test

Avastin's effects on early-stage disease don't meet expectations

(Newser) - Clinical trials to determine the drug Avastin’s effects on early-stage colon cancer were a big disappointment for drug firm Genentech, the New York Times reports. The drug, which is typically used in late-stage cancer, didn’t significantly cut the recurrence rate among 2,700 subjects in the early stages,... More »

Roche Gets Genentech in $46.8B Biotech Deal

(Newser) - Swiss drug giant Roche has succeeded in its quest to own biotech firm Genentech outright, and will purchase the 44% of shares it does not already own for $95 each, the San Francisco Chronicle reports today. The $46.8 billion deal comes after months of haggling, wherein Roche offered as... More »

Colon Cancer Gene Discovered

Cancer growth gene identified

(Newser) - Researchers have discovered a key gene that may contribute to the growth of colon cancer and could provide a target for new therapies, Bloomberg reports. The gene, CDK8, controls a cell growth switch that researchers think might spur the development of many tumors. The discovery may help up to 50%... More »

Roche Makes Genentech Takeover Bid

Swiss pharma bids $43.7B for remaining shares of biotech firm

(Newser) - Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche today offered $43.7 billion for the outstanding shares of Genentech, the San Francisco-based biotech firm in which Roche already owns a 55.9% stake, the Wall Street Journal reports. The $89-a-share offer is the latest in a series of big pharma companies, whose new drug... More »

Cancer Drug Sales Push Genentech Profits Up 12%

But analysts say Avastin sales slowing

(Newser) - Biotech firm Genentech said sales of its blockbuster cancer drug Avastin fueled a first-quarter profit increase of 12%, reports the Wall Street Journal, but the $600 million in sales was below analysts’ projected $622 million, causing some to grumble the drug may have reached a sales plateau. Genentech stock edged... More »

FDA Clears Avastin for Breast Cancer

Ruling rejects own panel's advice; drug now used for lung, colon treatment

(Newser) - The FDA has approved a drug currently prescribed to treat lung and colon cancer for use on breast cancer patients, the AP reports. The decision defies the advice of the FDA's own advisory panel, which recommended that Avastin not be used to treat breast cancer on the grounds that it... More »

Fortune Names Top Employers

Fortune Lists the top 100

(Newser) - Thinking of a career move? Fortune Magazine has released its 100 best employers for 2008 list—and the top 10 are:
  1. Google (Mountain View, CA)
  2. Quicken Loans (Livonia, MI)
  3. Wegmans Food Markets (Rochester, NY)
  4. Edward Jones (St. Louis, MO)
  5. Genentech (South San Francisco, CA)
More »

Street Yawns at Genentech Quarterlies

Despite beating analysts' revenue and profit forecast, biotech's share price drops

(Newser) - Drug maker Genentech – struggling with near-flat sales of its two premier drugs, Avastin and Rituxan – managed to outperform analyst’s fourth quarter expectations – barely, reports the Associated Press. The one-time biotech uber star, which recorded phenomenal growth in each of the two previous years, showed only a... More »

FDA Panel Rejects Breast Cancer Drug

Uncertainties on risk sink bid to expand uses for Avastin

(Newser) - An FDA panel rejected a drug to treat advanced breast cancer by 5-to-4 vote, the Wall Street Journal reports. The drug Avastin is already used to treat colon and lung cancer, but the panel said it did not have sufficient data to weigh the risks and benefits of using the... More »

Biotech Giant Slashes Jobs

World biggest biotech cuts 2,600 jobs in $2B restructuring

(Newser) - Biotech giant Amgen is slashing spending by $1.9 billion by cutting up to 14 percent of its workforce— 2,600 jobs—and closing some production facilities. The restructuring was triggered by plummeting sales of the company's anemia drug Aranesp. The shake up demonstrates that biotech operations are not immune... More »

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