Monday, May 3, 1993
Revived potential for Activase
Now that the results of the GUSTO trial of Genentech Inc.'s
Activase tissue plasminogen activator compared to streptokinase have been released,
the big question is whether hospitals and physicians will change their use of
The worst-case scenario - of dramatically better SK results
and plummeting tPA use - was dispelled by the data released on Friday. While
analysts had ranked that as the least likely outcome, the downside risk to the
company's earnings and its stock had caused some to move to the sidelines with
"hold" ratings until the results were in.
GUSTO's investigators said the data, showing that Activase
resulted in a 1 percent lowering of 30-day mortality compared to the study's
SK arms, had "put to rest the battle of the thrombolytics." They said the findings
were a clear endorsement of accelerated administration of Activase, for which
the company is now seeking revised labeling.
Routes to more sales
With the drug showing benefits over SK, Genentech now has the
opportunity to increase total sales. This can come about in three ways: it could
take market share from SK; it could penetrate the population of patients eligible
for thrombolytic therapy who are not now receiving it; or patients who are not
now eligible to receive the drug could be considered eligible in future.