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Lilly drug shows promise as lung cancer treatment

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Shares of Eli Lilly and Co. rose as much as 3.8 percent Wednesday morning after the Indianapolis-based drugmaker revealed that an experimental drug boosted overall survival among lung cancer patients in a large Phase 3 trial.

When ramucirumab was applied to non-small cell lung cancer, along with a traditional chemotherapy drug, it showed a statistically significant extension of the time of overall survival when compared with patients that only took the chemotherapy drug, Lilly said Wednesday.

Some patients receiving ramucirumab experienced decreased white blood cell count, fatigue and hypertension.

Lilly's stock price rose to as high as $57.34 in morning trading on Wednesday.

Lilly said it would release more detailed results later this year at a scientific conference. Lilly also plans to submit ramucirumab for market approval with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration later this year. The drug has already shown positive results as a treatment for gastric cancer, and Lilly is studying the drug as a liver cancer treatment as well.

Wall Street analysts have modest financial expectations for ramucirumab. Goldman Sachs analyst Jami Rubin expects the drug to generate sales of $100 million next year, ramping up to $560 million in 2020.

Bernstein Research analyst Tim Anderson expects sales next year of $167 million, ramping up to $669 million by 2020.
 

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