Drug Makers Seek OK to Expand Rituxan’s Use

From Reuters

Genentech Inc., Swiss drug maker Roche Holding and Biogen Idec Inc. said they had completed their U.S. marketing application to expand use of their drug Rituxan to patients never before treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The popular medicine was approved in the United States in 1997 for patients with the low-grade form of that type of lymphoma who had failed to benefit from other standard therapies. Such patients, who have slow-growing tumors, account for almost half of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases.

Genentech said the companies had asked the Food and Drug Administration to allow use of the medicine in previously untreated patients with the intermediate grade, also known as aggressive grade, form of the lymphoma -- in combination with standard chemotherapy.