ImClone Systems ( IMCL) shares climbed Wednesday after the company said a trial on its drug Erbitux in colorectal cancer met its goal.

The stock was gaining 5% to $30.69.

The phase III trial involved more than 1,000 patients who were given either the drug plus chemotherapy or chemotherapy alone as a first-choice treatment for advanced colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Researchers found that adding the drug to chemotherapy increased the time patients lived without their disease getting worse.

Phase III is the stage of human trials conducted just before a drug is submitted for regulatory approval.

"These results provide important new information for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, and are part of a comprehensive clinical development program designed to fully understand the potential uses of Erbitux for cancer patients," said Dr. Martin Birkhofer, head of the oncology group at Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY), ImClone's marketing partner.

Erbitux is already approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat colorectal cancer patients who failed to improve when treated with irinotecan chemotherapy alone. This most-recent trial involves patients who had never been treated before.

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