12 Aug 2013

NZ firm to seek approval for pancreatic cancer drug

9:34 am on 12 August 2013

A New Zealand drug company says patients with pancreatic cancer may benefit from a drug it hopes to help make available.

TeArai BioFarma says it will seek safety approval and public funding for the drug later this year.

The company was established last year by Lance Gravatt of Auckland after the death of his son Zachary from preventable meningococcal disease.

Dr Gravatt says it aims to bring new medicines to this country at an affordable price and it has the rights to a drug called Nimotuzumab, developed for patients with pancreatic cancer.

The drug could prolong life by up to three months.

About 470 people in New Zealand are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a year and about 413 die from it.

Specialists say better treatments for advanced pancreatic cancer are needed.