Imclone’s ERBITUX Extends Life in Lung Cancer Patients (IMCL, BMY, DNA)

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Shares of Imclone Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:IMCL) are screaming higher this morning on it meeting its primary endpoint of increasing survival in its Phase III lung cancer studies.  Imclone and partner Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) showed that ERBITUX in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy met its primary endpoint of increasing overall survival compared with chemotherapy alone in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

This large, randomized multi-national study, known as FLEX (First-Line Treatment for Patients with Epidermal growth factor inhibitor was conducted by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and enrolled patients with Stage IIIB or Stage IV NSCLC who had not previously received chemotherapy.  As part of a quote, Dr. Eric Rowinsky, Chief Medical Officer of Imclone said, "ERBITUX is the only member of the class of epidermal growth factor inhibitors to demonstrate survival in the first-line treatment of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Previous pivotal trials involving other agents targeting EGFR have failed to demonstrate a survival advantage for these patients."

If Imclone’s head and neck cancer drug can extend the life of lung cancer patients, then this will have even larger potential.  This is also taking away a little thunder from Genentech Inc. (NYSE:DNA) as it could end up poaching away sales of its Avastin.  Imclone (IMCL) shares are trading up over 25% pre-market at almost $49.00, above the $47.11 prior yearly high.  Even Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) shares are up 3% at $28.85 pre-market.

For whatever this is worth, this is not the company saying it has cured lung cancer.  But an extension of life is a serious start.

Jon C. Ogg
September 11, 2007

Jon Ogg produces the 24/7 Wall St. SPECIAL SITUATION INVESTING NEWSLETTER; he does not own securities in the companies he covers.