Good news flowed in at
) from Canada when Health Canada, the federal department
responsible for health related matters in the country, cleared
its cancer drug Erbitux for an additional indication.
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The Canadian unit of Bristol-Myers announced that the approval
was for the use of Erbitux as a first-line treatment in
combination with FOLFIRI (irinotecan, 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin)
in patients with wild-type KRAS, epidermal growth factor receptor
(EGFR)-expressing metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).
Health Canada approved Erbitux for the new indication on the
basis of data from an open-label, randomized, multicenter,
European phase III study (CRYSTAL). This is the first new
biologic therapy to be cleared in eight years for patients newly
diagnosed with mCRC.
We note that Erbitux is available in Canada since 2008 for the
treatment of EGFR-expressing metastatic colorectal cancer in
patients whose disease progressed after chemotherapy. The label
expansion of Erbitux in the country should boost the sales
potential of the cancer drug.
The colorectal cancer market represents huge potential. According
to the data provided by the company in its press release, about
23,300 cases of colorectal cancer occurred in 2012. It is
estimated that colorectal cancer was responsible for 9,200 deaths
in Canada in 2012.It is estimated that colorectal cancer was
responsible for 9,200 deaths in Canada in 2012. Apart from
Erbitux, the colorectal cancer market includes
We currently have a Neutral recommendation on Bristol-Myers,
which carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Large-cap pharma companies
that currently look more attractive include
). These Zacks #2 Ranked (Buy) stocks are expected to perform
strongly in the coming quarters.