Roche says that its anemia drug Cera -- a potential blockbuster -- proved effective in a mid-stage trial of kidney patients. The extended year-long study of 61 patients helped control hemoglobin levels with one dose administered every four weeks. Cera stimulates red blood cell production, which are in short supply among anemia patients. Other studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in cancer patients. Some analysts say that Cera, if approved, could command billions in annual sales.
"These findings suggest that CERA may represent a convenient treatment alternative with less frequent dosing," said Norman S. Coplon, MD, founder and chairman of Satellite Healthcare in Mountain View, California, and a US clinical trial investigator for this study. "Less frequent dosing also may benefit clinicians and patients by reducing the amount of time associated with the administration of treatment for anemia."
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