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New formulation of Roche's Herceptin wins EU approval

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Roche said on Monday the European Commission had approved a new formulation of its breast cancer drug Herceptin which allows the medicine to be administered more quickly.

Roche said it had won approval for a new injectable version of Herceptin which cuts down treatment time to just two to five minutes. It currently takes between 30 to 90 minutes to administer the drug intravenously.

Herceptin is used as a treatment for around a quarter of breast cancer patients who have tumors that generate a protein called HER2, which tends to make their disease more aggressive.

The drug, which goes off patent next year, is Roche's third-biggest seller and notched up global revenues of 3.08 billion Swiss francs ($3.30 billion) in the first half of the year.

(Reporting by Caroline Copley)

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