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25. "Big 3" Blockbuster Drugs

A "blockbuster" drug is one with annual sales of over $1 billion, and three monoclonal antibodies -- with the trade names Rituxan, Avastin and Herceptin -- are now members of this exclusive club, and are becoming commonplace in treating some of the major cancers.

Rituxan (Rituximab) is for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and made $2.5 billion in 2007 sales. The Ritauxan antibody binds to a cancer cell and labels it for destruction by the immune system's killer cells. Avastin (Bevacizumab) is for colon, lung and breast cancer and make $2.4 Billion in 2007 sales. Avastin inhibits a growth factor for cancer called VEGF and that reduces blood supply to the tumor. Herceptin (Trastuzumab) is for breast cancer and made $1.7 Billion in 2007 sales. Herceptin antibody restrains a cancer growth factor from joining with, and being activated by, a special protein known as HER2.