Delayed treatments of Genentech Inc.'s Activase t-PA in heartattack patients significantly reduced their mortality rate,according to data from a recent international, company-sponsored study.

The results of the late assessment of thrombolytic efficacy(LATE) study were presented Thursday at the 14th annualmeeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Barcelona,Spain.

Specifically designed to determine whether treatment with thet-PA compound is useful up to 24 hours after the onset ofmajor heart attack symptoms, the study found that the drugreduced mortality 27 percent when administered between sixand 12 hours after symptoms began. Activase is currentlyprescribed for up to six hours after the onset of heart attacksymptoms.

Genentech of South San Francisco, Calif., said it is encouragedby the data, but a spokesman declined comment about whetherit intends to apply to change Activase's label to reflect the newstudy results.

LATE investigators reported that up to 30 percent of heartattack patients are not treated within six hours of symptomonset.

Genentech's Activase came under fire earlier this year whenthe results of an ISIS-3 study showed no advantage for theproduct over cheaper clot dissolvers, such as the combinationof aspirin and streptokinase. Activase is about 10 times moreexpensive than streptokinase.

Jay Silverman, an analyst with Wertheimer Schroder in NewYork said studies such as LATE are just keeping t-PA's headabove water.

-- Michelle Slade Associate Editor

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