ImClone shares surged in pre-market trading after it announced that the drug Erbitux increased the survival rate of lung cancer patients in a Phase III study. Erbitux was developed by Bristol-Myers and ImClone, and has been used primarily to treat colon and head-to-neck cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., with about 160,000 deaths forecasted in 2007. It is a lucrative market that until now had been dominated by Genentech's Avastin. The study showed that the drug along with chemotherapy increased survival when compared to chemotherapy alone in all subtypes of non-small-cell lung cancer. Avastin cannot be used for some types of non-small-cell cancer because of health concerns. Eric K. Rowinsky, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of ImClone said, "these are important results for lung cancer patients and health care professionals treating this devastating disease, since there have been very few treatment advances for lung cancer in recent years." The results of the study and details are yet to be released, but if they do hold up, Erbitux could be a significant player in the lung cancer market. ImClone shares traded up 26.8% to $48.10 and Bristol-Myers was up 2.7% to $28.75, while Genentech shares dropped 3.1% to $76.71 in pre-market trading Tuesday morning.
Sources: Press release, TheStreet.com, Forbes
Commentary: ImClone's Erbitux Fails Pancreatic Cancer Study • The "Naked" Truth About Antibodies For Cancer Therapy
Stocks/ETFs to watch: IMCL, BMY, DNA. ETFs: HHK
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