ImClone Systems ( IMCL) and Bristol-Myers Squibb's ( BMY) colon cancer fighter, Erbitux, may show promise in fighting head and neck cancer as well, with the two companies announcing a plan to expand the potential use of the drug.

After the end of trading on Tuesday, the two companies announced that they had established a plan with the Food and Drug Administration to submit a supplemental Biologics License Application to use injections of Erbitux to treat squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, or SSCHN.

ImClone and Bristol-Myers plan to submit the application in the second quarter of 2005 and will ask for priority review. This year, about 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral, head and neck cancer and more than 11,000 will die from it, according to the American Cancer Society.

"Patients with this disease have been without any significant advancements in approved treatments for over a decade," stated Daniel Lynch, ImClone's CEO. "We were pleased to be able to present clinical trial data in head and neck cancer at this year's ASCO annual meeting, including the late-breaking phase III study IMCL-9815."

Indeed, the two companies have already made some progress on the clinical trials that will comprise its supplemental application. The IMCL-9815 trial examined the effect of the drug in combination with radiation on 424 patients with SSCHN. A separate phase II trial examined the effect of the drug when used alone as a treatment for SCCHN in people who did not respond to some types of chemotherapy.

In reaction to the news, shares of both companies were rising. ImClone -- which releases earnings on Wednesday -- rose $4.47, or 5.6%, to $81.03, while Bristol-Meyers rose 33 cents, or 1.4%, to $23.98.