Updated from June 5

ImClone Systems ( IMCLE) and its partner Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY) plan to ramp up their efforts in the second half of the year to again try to win approval for the prospective cancer drug Erbitux.

In a press release Thursday, ImClone said the companies met with the Food and Drug Administration to discuss clinical trial data, including a recent study by ImClone's German partner Merck KGaA involving patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. Based on the outcome of the meeting, ImClone expects to submit a biologics license application to the FDA in the second half of the year in a bid to get Erbitux cleared.

The decision doesn't come entirely as a surprise, considering that at last weekend's meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Merck KGaA (no relation to U.S. drugmaker Merck) presented study results showing that Erbitux, when combined with chemotherapy, shrank tumors in patients with late-stage colon cancer.

The information from the Merck study is an almost exact repeat of data previously gathered by ImClone in 2001. The legitimacy of the earlier ImClone data and the way it was collected was questioned by the FDA, and the agency rejected the company's original application for Erbitux in December 2001.

On Friday, shares of ImClone were up $2.41 to $40.94. Since the start of 2003, ImClone's share price has quadrupled. Bristol-Myers was down 19 cents to $26.71.

The news of late has been much kinder to ImClone. For a considerable part of last year, the company's appearance in the headlines often centered on a insider-trading scandal that led to the resignation of then-CEO Sam Waksal and also ensnared home and lifestyle expert Martha Stewart.

Waksal pleaded guilty to insider trading charges last year, and he is scheduled to be sentenced June 10. Stewart this week was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false statements relating to her controversial sale of around 4,000 ImClone shares in December 2001. Just hours after her indictment Wednesday, she stepped down as chairwoman and CEO of her namesake company Martha Stewart Living ( MSO).

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