SAN DIEGO, March 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: HALO) announced today that the European Commission (EC) has approved Roche's new subcutaneous (SC) formulation of MabThera ®(rituximab) for the treatment of patients with follicular lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Following the approval of Herceptin SC in September 2013, this is the second European approval for a novel subcutaneous formulation of one of Roche's oncology products using Halozyme's patented Enhanze ™ (recombinant human hyaluronidase) technology.
"Today's approval in the EU offers another treatment option for patients with common forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and is yet another validating milestone for our proprietary technology," said Dr. Helen Torley, President and Chief Executive Officer. "With an administration time of approximately five minutes compared to the approximately 2.5 hour infusion time for intravenous MabThera, this innovative formulation could potentially save time for patients, physicians and other health care providers in Europe." The European approval was primarily based on data from the pivotal SABRINA study, which was recently published in the Lancet Oncology[i]. Roche has stated that they expect to begin launching MabThera SC in a number of European markets throughout 2014. About non-Hodgkin lymphomaThere are two main types of lymphoma: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). NHL represents approximately 85% of all lymphoma diagnosed[ii] and was responsible for approximately 200,000 annual deaths worldwide in 2012[iii]. Lymphomas are a cancer of the lymphatic system (composed of lymph vessels, lymph nodes and organs) which helps to keep the bodily fluid levels balanced and to defend the body against invasion by disease. Lymphoma develops when white blood cells (usually B-lymphocytes) in the lymph fluid become cancerous and begin to multiply and collect in the lymph nodes or lymphatic tissues such as the spleen. Some of these cells are released into the bloodstream and spread around the body, interfering with the body's production of healthy blood cells.