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Roche Loss on Avastin Appeal Is Third in a Row at FDA Panel

Roche Holding AG’s failure to persuade a U.S. panel to back Avastin in breast cancer is the third such loss for the Swiss drugmaker as it looks for new ways to expand sales of the world’s top-selling cancer medicine.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted 6-0 yesterday that Avastin’s use in breast cancer should be withdrawn because it didn’t work as well in follow-up studies and can cause deadly bleeding. Roche won conditional approval in 2008 over a similar panel’s objections and is appealing the FDA’s plan to revoke that clearance.