Genentech

(DNA)

got some rare bad news on cancer blockbuster Avastin.

The biotech company's Swiss parent, Roche, said it was ending a clinical trial of Avastin in pancreatic cancer after determining the drug wasn't extending life in patients receiving it. An independent monitor recommended the trial's curtailment after reviewing interim data in the study, which compared Avastin and chemotherapy to chemotherapy alone.

"Chemotherapy has had a limited impact in advancing outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer, and treatments that may improve survival are desperately needed," the company said. "We will continue to explore novel biologic and targeted therapy approaches that may lead to improved clinical outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer."

Genentech noted that Avastin is currently being tested in 130 clinical trials comprising 25 different kinds of cancer. The drug was approved in early 2004 in metastatic colon cancer and was submitted for approval in nonsmall cell lung cancer in April.

In premarket trading, Genentech fell 40 cents, or 0.5%, to $78.71.