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EU approves Glaxo drug Hycamtin for lung cancer

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http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArtic ... CANCER.xml

Wed Feb 1, 2006 2:25 AM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - The European Commission has given approval for GlaxoSmithKline Plc's Hycamtin drug to be used as a treatment for small cell lung cancer, Europe's biggest drug maker said on Wednesday.

The medicine, which is given by infusion, is already used for ovarian cancer and its extension to lung cancer had been expected, following a positive opinion from an expert panel in November.

The drug will be used in patients with relapsed small cell lung cancer for whom re-treatment with a first-line drug regimen is not considered appropriate. Small cell lung cancer accounts for about one in five of all lung cancer cases diagnosed.

Hycamtin belongs to a class of drugs known as topoisomerase I inhibitors, which induce DNA damage and trigger the death of dividing cells.

It is considered a niche product for Glaxo but its approval is the latest in a string of recent good product news, including approval for an injectable form of the brittle bone drug Boniva and the launch of Arranon for T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

The British-based company also hopes to launch shortly a new combination diabetes pill called Avandaryl.

Looking ahead, investors are hoping for positive news later this year on three potential blockbusters -- the cervical cancer vaccine Cervarix, breast cancer pill Tykerb and blood platelet drug eltrombopag.

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