Merck KGaA sees bright future for Erbitux

"We still have room to grow in colorectal cancer," Merck KGaA's (MKGAF.PK) head of prescription drugs says, regarding the prospects for Erbitux, the company's first-line treatment for wild-type colorectal cancer.

Results showing the drug extends the lives of patients longer than Roche's (RHHBY.OB -1.6%) Avastin (median survival 33.1 months versus 25.6 months) should help German Merck's marketing team "make the case for the drug," Reuters notes and may improve the product's long-term prospects.

As for a perceived biosimilar threat (projected as early as 2015), the company says it does "not expect to see a biosimilar for Erbitux for quite a few years."

Merck has rights to Erbitux outside North America where Eli Lilly (LLY -0.7%) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY +1.5%) sell the drug.

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