Merck KGaA's Erbitux fails in colon cancer study

FRANKFURT Wed May 9, 2012 8:32am BST

The logo of drugs and chemicals group Merck is pictured at one of its branches in central German city of Darmstadt March 7, 2012. REUTERS/Alex Domanski

The logo of drugs and chemicals group Merck is pictured at one of its branches in central German city of Darmstadt March 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Alex Domanski

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's Merck KGaA said on Wednesday that Erbitux, one of its most important drugs, failed to help colon cancer patients after surgery in a late stage trial.

A scheduled interim analysis of the so-called Petacc-8 study, which tested Erbitux in combination with standard chemotherapy as a treatment of colon cancer that has started spreading, showed no improvement in disease-free survival compared with using chemotherapy only.

Merck's Erbitux competes with Amgen Vectibix in the market for certain colorectal cancer treatments and is also approved for treating head and neck cancer.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger)

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