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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Roche Holdings, Amgen, Merck KGaA, Eli Lilly and Bristol-Myers Squibb

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – June 6, 2012– Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Roche Holdings Ltd. (RHHBY), Amgen Inc. (AMGN), Merck KGaA (MKGAY), Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY)

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Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

Positive Data on Roche’s Avastatin


Roche Holdings Ltd. (RHHBY) recently announced positive results on Avastin plus chemotherapy from a phase III study, ML18147 that was conducted with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients. On continuing with the treatment, the study showed that mCRC patients lived longer.

Roche said that the study met its primary endpoint and showed an increase in overall survival (:OS). As per the study, mortality risk for people continuing with Avastin plus second-line chemotherapy was lower by 19% compared to those who received only chemotherapy (OS of 11.2 months compared to 9.8 months).

Moreover, patients continuing with Avastin plus second-line chemotherapy experienced a significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS). Cancer progressing risk was reduced by 32% (5.7 months compared to 4.1 months).

Colorectal cancer, considered one of the most common cancers in the world, has over 1.2 million new cases diagnosed each year. This form of cancer is one of the biggest cancer killers in the world with over 600,000 deaths reported every year.

Currently, Amgen Inc.’s (AMGN) Vectibix and Merck KGaA (MKGAY)/Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY)/Bristol-Myers Squibb Company’s (BMY) Erbitux are available for mCRC.

Roche also presented results from another phase III study, Aurelia. This study evaluated Avastin plus standard chemotherapy (weekly paclitaxel, topotecan or pegylated liposomal doxorubicin) in ovarian cancer patients whose disease had progressed because of resistance to platinum-containing chemotherapy.

Roche reported that the study demonstrated a 52% reduction in the risk of progression in patients in the Avastin plus chemotherapy arm compared to patients who received only chemotherapy (OS of 6.7 months compared to 3.4 months). The study met its primary endpoint of an improvement in PFS.

Ovarian cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in women and one of the leading causes of cancer death in women around the world. According to the press release issued by Roche, around 230,000 women will be diagnosed with this cancer and approximately 140,000 will die from the disease.

Roche currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank (short-term Hold rating).

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Read the analyst report on RHHBY

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