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Genentech: Did I Bury The Lead About Avastin?

Friday, 12 Oct 2007 | 11:27 AM ET
CNBC.com

Yesterday I reported thatGenentech had quietly buried on its web site www.gene.com the announcement of its new crackdown against using Avastin instead of Lucentis for adult-onset blindness. From the homepage, I had counted four somewhat counterintuitive clicks to get the link to the letter detailing the new policy.

But a company spokesperson left me a voicemail message taking issue with my characterization of the placement of the letter pointing out that there is a boxed link at the bottom of the Genentech homepage under the title, "Avastin Distribution Change".

To me, that's a little nebulous for the layman and perhaps, why I hadn't caught it. Anyway, the spokesperson says Genentech FedExed the letter to more than 1,500 retinal specialists and that "burying" the announcement on the website "was not our intention at all."

DNA shares are up this morning ahead of the company's earnings release after the bell on Monday. But also possibly, as I pointed out yesterday, because investors see the Avastin crackdown as driving more sales of the pricier Lucentis. In fact, as soon as the Wall Street Journal's bullets on the story hit the wires with just minutes to go in regular trading yesterday, the shares turned tail and closed higher after trading down for most of the day.

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com