Genentech and Biogen Idec have received FDA approval to market the blockbuster Rituxan for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Rituxan was originally approved for lymphoma and earlier this month was approved for a faster growing form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Last year the therapy racked up $1.83 billion in sales. Analysts believe that the competitive RA market is likely to add significantly to Rituxan's sales tally. Rituxan may quickly find itself in a market fight with Bristol-Myers Squibb's Orencia, which was recently approved for RA. Some give Rituxan, a drug with a long track record, the edge. In a late-stage trial, 51 percent of patients taking Rituxan and methotrexate had a significant improvement in symptoms. Twelve percent had an improvement of 70 percent or better.
- read this AP report for more information
ALSO: Lonza--which makes the biochemicals used in Rituxan--is another winner in the announcement. Report