Analysts are predicting that an FDA advisory committee,expected to meet today to review Bristol-Myers Squibb's newdrug application for taxol to treat refractory ovarian cancer,will recommend approval.

"Taxol is viewed as being the most significant chemotherapy inthe last 10 or 15 years, so there's enormous excitement aboutthis product," according to Christina Heuer, an analyst withSmith Barney.

"We think final approval could come as fast as the end of theyear, and we think there's going to be a lot of optimism aboutthe drug," said Merrill Lynch analyst Richard Vietor. "But whileit's good news for Bristol, we don't see it as a product that willchange the fundamental trend at a $12 billion company."

Taxol, a natural compound derived from the bark of Pacificyew trees, is a potent anti-cancer agent that acts by blockingthe division of cancer cells. Bristol-Myers of New Yorkapparently has enough (natural) taxol for about 100,000patients, Vietor said, and is researching alternative methods toproduce it. -- Jennifer Van Brunt

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.

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