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March 26, 2007
Vectibix Lurches A Bit
Amgen served up a nasty surprise on Friday with the results of a trial they're running on their Vectibix (panitumumab) cancer therapy. It's an EGFR inhibitor (same space as Imclone's Erbitux) and this trial was the first to test a "dual biologics" approach to colon cancer. One group got the standard of care (oxaliplatin and irinotecan chemotherapy, plus Genentech's Avastin VEGF inhibitor), and other other got that plus Vectibix.
Unfortunately, in one of those unexpected results that cancer trials are always delivering, the two-protein-therapeutics group actually showed slightly worse survival data than did the standard-of-care group, and that takes care of that. By itself, this result isn't enough to call Vectibix a failure by any means. But its expected rise to overshadow Erbitux has clearly been delayed.
Imclone's stock price reflects this. Does it ever - my modest short position in their stock is now underwater good and proper. Their stock's up 45% so far this year, with a lot of that in just the last two weeks. But these are early days (he said to himself abstractedly, looking out the window with his brokerage statement in his lap). Both drugs are in similar Phase III trials against colorectal cancer (as that first link, to Bioworld Today, details) and eventually we're going to have about as good a head-to-head comparison as you can expect in this area. Whether that'll be enough to decide anything, well. . .
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