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Roche sees Lucentis sales increase and announces data from Phase III HARBOR trial

Roche (SIX:ROG; OTCQX:RHHBY) has reported that 3Q11 US sales of Lucentis (ranibizumab) grew by 17% to CHF359M/US$392M. The increase in sales occurs against the backdrop of a publication in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in May 2011 by the Comparison of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Treatment Trials (CATT) Research Group which showed that off-label use of the oncology drug, Avastin (bevacizumab), was non-inferior to Lucentis in the treatment of age related macular degeneration (AMD). The 1-year study results showed that the monthly use of either Avastin (bevacizumab) or Lucentis (ranibizumab) resulted in the same visual acuity outcome and, as such, had the potential to increase the more cost effective off-label use of Avastin. The increase in Lucentis sales however, suggests that other factors may be impacting on clinical use.