) recently reported disappointing interim data from a late-stage
study (PETACC-8) on Erbitux (cetuximab), which is being evaluated
as an adjuvant treatment of stage III colon cancer. The data did
not support the use of the drug for the aforementioned
Results from the study, a multinational European trial, revealed
that Erbitux when given in combination with standard chemotherapy
(FOLFOX 4) did not prolong the disease free survival of patients,
as compared to those treated with FOLFOX 4 alone.
We note that these results do not have any impact on the
availability status of Erbitux for other approved indications. The
drug is currently marketed worldwide for the treatment of patients
with KRAS wild-type metastatic colorectal cancer and squamous cell
cancer of the head and neck (SCCHN).
Merck KGaA licensed the rights to market Erbitux outside the
U.S. and Canada from ImClone, a subsidiary of
Eli Lilly and Co.
). Merck KGaA markets Erbitux in these markets with
). Eli Lily, Bristol Myers and Merck KGaA co-promote Erbitux in
Erbitux is one of the leading revenue contributors at Merck
KGaA, with the drug sales increasing 1.3% during the first quarter
of 2012. However, the cancer treatment market is heavily crowded
with players like
Roche Holdings Ltd.
We currently have a Zacks #2 Rank (short-term Buy rating) on
Merck KGaA. Despite the negative data, we believe that Erbitux
along with Rebif and the Merck Millipore division will help drive
growth at Merck KGaA.
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