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EU expands use of Roche’s new haemophilia A drug

March 14, 2019 / Richard Staines

The European Commission has approved Roche hemophilia A drug Hemlibra for patients without factor VIII inhibitors, expanding the use of the drug that is expected to drive sales as blockbuster cancer drugs face increasing competition. Hemlibra (emicizumab) is already approved in the EU for hemophilia A patients with inhibitors, and the latest approval means Roche’s drug covers the whole disease population in Europe. The drug is a prophylactic medicine given subcutaneously at multiple dosing options – once weekly, every two weeks, or every four weeks. Hemlibra is tipped to achieve sales north of a billion dollars annually, at a time when Roche’s “big three” cancer drugs Avastin, Herceptin, and Rituxan/Mabthera face competition from biosimilars. These three drugs produced cumulative revenues of more than $20 billion a year at peak, but the cheaper near-copies are stealing market share fast, particularly in Europe. Sales of Hemlibra so far have been encouragin...