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Study Setback Rocks ImClone

ImClone Systems (IMCL) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY - Get Report) said the drug Erbitux failed to reach the principal goal of a late-stage study involving patients with pancreatic cancer, sending shares of both lower.

The companies had hoped the Phase III trial would show Erbitux, when combined with gemcitabine chemotherapy, improved overall survival, but the primary endpoint wasn't met. The participants in the study had locally advanced irremovable or metastatic pancreatic cancer.

ImClone was sinking 7.5% to $39.16, and Bristol-Myers was off 0.4% at $27.54.

More than 700 patients were involved in the trial, which compared Erbitux plus gemcitabine to the chemo alone.

"We still consider pancreatic cancer to be of the utmost priority, and we intend to pursue additional evaluations with Erbitux including a pilot study of Erbitux and bevacizumab with or without gemcitabine, as well as our pipeline agents, to improve the outcome for patients with pancreatic cancer," stated Eric K. Rowinsky, chief medical officer and senior vice president at ImClone.

Erbitux has already received U.S. regulatory approval for treating colorectal cancer and cancer of the head and neck.

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