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Lilly cancer treatment fails trial in stomach cancer

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Erbitux, a cancer treatment made by Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co.'s Imclone unit, failed to help patients with advanced stomach tumors in a late-stage clinical trial.

The trial results are a setback for German drug company Merck KGaA, which markets the treatment outside of North America. Erbitux is Merck's second-biggest-selling medicine and it was hoping an approval would expand sales.

The drug, combined with two other medicines, didn’t extend the length of time that patients lived without their disease getting worse, said Darmstadt-based Merck said in a prepared statement Thursday..

Patients in the trial, dubbed Expand, had inoperable cancer of the stomach or gastro-esophageal junction and hadn’t received prior chemotherapy or radiation, Merck said. They got Erbitux along with cisplatin, a standard chemotherapy, and the capecitabine cancer drug. Typically, they would receive only palliative chemotherapy, according to Merck.

“We are disappointed that the Expand trial did not show a benefit for patients,” the lead investigator in the study, Florian Lordick of Hannover Medical School in Germany, said in the statement. “Patients with advanced gastric cancer currently have few treatment choices and a poor prognosis, and we will continue to investigate other treatment options for these patients in the hope of being able to offer improved outcomes.”

Merck rang up $1.1 billion in Erbitux sales last year, making it the company’s second-biggest-selling product after Rebif for multiple sclerosis. It’s approved for colorectal cancer as well as tumors of the head and neck.

Lilly and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. market the drug in the United States and Canada, while Merck promotes it and sells it elsewhere. Lilly said it realized total revenue of $409 million from Erbitux in 2011.

Merck has applied for approval to sell the drug for lung cancer in the European Union. The company said May 9 that Erbitux failed to show a benefit for stage-three colon cancer patients when given with chemotherapy as a way to prevent the cancer’s return following tumor removal, compared with chemotherapy alone.

The study included 904 patients in 25 countries, Merck said. Gastric cancer is the second leading cause of cancer- related death worldwide, leading to more than 700,000 deaths a year, Merck said.

Lilly shares were down 25 cents Thursday morning, to $42.91 each.

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  1. In reality, Lilly is maintaining profit by cutting costs such as Indiana/US citizen IT workers by a significant amount with their Tata Indian consulting connection, increasing Indian H1B's at Lillys Indiana locations significantly and offshoring to India high paying Indiana jobs to cut costs and increase profit at the expense of U.S. workers.

  2. I think perhaps there is legal precedence here in that the laws were intended for family farms, not pig processing plants on a huge scale. There has to be a way to squash this judges judgment and overrule her dumb judgement. Perhaps she should be required to live in one of those neighbors houses for a month next to the farm to see how she likes it. She is there to protect the people, not the corporations.

  3. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/facts/03-111.htm Corporate farms are not farms, they are indeed factories on a huge scale. The amount of waste and unhealthy smells are environmentally unsafe. If they want to do this, they should be forced to buy a boundary around their farm at a premium price to the homeowners and landowners that have to eat, sleep, and live in a cesspool of pig smells. Imagine living in a house that smells like a restroom all the time. Does the state really believe they should take the side of these corporate farms and not protect Indiana citizens. Perhaps justifiable they should force all the management of the farms to live on the farm itself and not live probably far away from there. Would be interesting to investigate the housing locations of those working at and managing the corporate farms.

  4. downtown in the same area as O'malia's. 350 E New York. Not sure that another one could survive. I agree a Target is needed d'town. Downtown Philly even had a 3 story Kmart for its downtown residents.

  5. Indy-area residents... most of you have no idea how AMAZING Aurelio's is. South of Chicago was a cool pizza place... but it pales in comparison to the heavenly thin crust Aurelio's pizza. Their deep dish is pretty good too. My waistline is expanding just thinking about this!

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