Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
) recently announced the publication of a paper on its phase II
study on its oncology candidate, MM-398, in the British Journal
MM-398 is currently in phase III development for the
second-line treatment of pancreatic cancer patients, whose
disease has progressed after being treated with
Eli Lilly and Company
) Gemzar (gemcitabine). Merrimack expects to complete patient
enrollment in the third quarter of 2013 and to report top-line
results in fourth-quarter 2013 or first-quarter 2014 for this
phase III study.
MM-398 was granted orphan drug designation by the European
Medicines Agency (EMA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) in 2011, for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. MM-398 is
being studied in several phase I and phase II studies for cancer
indications other than pancreatic cancer.
The company has an assignment, sublicense and collaboration
agreement with PharmaEngine, Inc. Under the agreement, Merrimack
reacquired the rights to MM-398 in Europe and certain other
countries. Merrimack made an upfront payment of $10 million to
PharmaEngine and will be making milestone payments.
Merrimack also has a license and collaboration agreement with
) for the development of another oncology candidate, MM-121.
MM-121 is being evaluated for multiple cancer indications
including breast cancer (phase II).
We note that Merrimack has another oncology candidate, MM-111,
in its pipeline. Last month, the company advanced MM-111 into
phase II development for the treatment of advanced gastric,
esophageal and gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer.
Merrimack currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). At
present, companies like
Gilead Sciences Inc.
) look well-positioned with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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