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Celgene Rises as Abraxane Meets Pancreatic Cancer Goals

Celgene Corp., the fourth-largest biotechnology company, gained the most in more than a year after the drugmaker reported its medicine for pancreatic cancer met goals of a late-stage study.

Celgene rose 5.8 percent to $75.66 at 4 p.m. New York time, for the biggest single day increase since Sept. 20, 2011. The shares of the Summit, New Jersey-based company have increased 12 percent this year.

The medicine, Abraxane, was shown to help patients with pancreatic cancer live longer when given with the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine compared with gemcitabine alone, Celgene said in a statement Nov. 9 after markets closed. The results, from the third and final stage of trials generally required for marketing clearance, will provide the basis of filing for approval, the company said.

“Given solid efficacy, acceptable tolerability, and the dearth of treatment options, our conviction that Abraxane plus gemcitabine will become the new standard of care in pancreatic cancer is high,” Eric Schmidt, an analyst with Cowen & Co., wrote in a research note today.

Schmidt estimates Abraxane may draw global sales of $2 billion a year for pancreatic cancer. The disease is diagnosed in 240,000 to 270,000 new patients each year, and is the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths despite lower prevalence compared with other tumors, he wrote.

Abraxane was approved in the U.S. in 2005 for treatment of breast cancer after chemotherapy, and cleared in October of this year for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer. The drug generated $385.9 million in 2011 revenue. Celgene acquired it in its 2010 purchase of Abraxis BioScience Inc. for $2.7 billion.

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