Merck KGaA sees bright future for Erbitux

|By:, SA News Editor

"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.