Merck says tests results of its Erbitux cancer drug didn't meet its expectations


erbituxDARMSTADT, Germany: Merck KGaA, a German drug and chemical maker, said Monday that test results of its bowel cancer drug Erbitux did not meet its hopes for patient survival rate.

Results from a trial of 1,300 patient did not show a significant difference in prolonging life when comparing Erbitux taken in combination with standard treatment irinotecan and irinotecan alone.

Merck studied the efficacy of Erbitux in combination with irinotecan, a chemotherapy treatment, and found that patients did not survive without progression of the disease as the company hoped.

Still, Erbitux did show positive results in delaying the progress of the disease, the company said in a statement.

Merck said it will "continue to study Erbitux."

The company, which is also in the process of acquiring Switzerland's Serono SA in a 16.6 billion Swiss franc ($13.06 billion) takeover, has the rights to Erbitux outside the United States, Canada and Japan.

Merck shares were flat at €85.33 (US$108.55) on Frankfurt's Deutsche Boerse.