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Ahead of the Bell: Dendreon shares jump

SEATTLE (AP) -- Dendreon soared 9 percent before markets opened Friday after the drug developer said a European Medicines Agency committee endorsed its prostate cancer treatment, a drug approved for use in the United States more than three years ago.

The Seattle company said the agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use gave a positive opinion recommending that Provenge be approved for sale in the European Union.

The European Commission, which approves medicines for the EU, usually makes a decision on these recommendations in a few months.

Provenge is approved in the United States for men whose cancer has spread elsewhere in the body and has not responded to hormone therapy or radiation. It is designed to train a patient's immune system to fight prostate cancer.

Dendreon said last month that net revenue from Provenge fell 18 percent to $67.6 million in the first quarter due to increased competition from two newer drugs. Analysts initially expected billions of dollars per year in annual sales. Sales have been hurt by its high cost and because some doctors are not convinced that it extends patients' lives a great deal compared with chemotherapy.

Shares of Dendreon Corp. climbed 9 percent, or 38 cents, to $4.46 Friday in premarket trading.