Shares of Imclone Systems fell after the company announced that a phase III trial of its cancer drug Erbitux failed to meet the end point of progression free survival of non-small cell lung cancer.
The phase III trial involved 600 patients who had not received prior therapy. The trial combined Erbitux with chemotherapy.
Imclone and marketing partner Bristol Meyer's Squibb said secondary endpoints of the study, including response rate as assessed by an independent committee and progression free survival, assessed by clinical investigators, were statistically significant and favored Erbitux.
The companies said additional ongoing trials of Erbitux for treatment of lung cancern will continue.
"We consider lung cancer to be a high priority and await the results of other Phase II and Phase III evaluations of ERBITUX in the first- and second- line setting with chemotherapy regimens," said Eric Rowinsky, ImClone's chief medical officer, in a statement.
Erbitux is already approved as a treatment for colon cancer and head and neck cancer. Imclone shares have rallied more than 30% on investor hopes the company will be expand the use of Erbitux for treatment of other cancers.