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May 1, 2014
Merrimack Wins One
You don't get the chance to say "positive Phase III results in advanced pancreatic cancer" very often, but it looks like Merrimack Pharmaceuticals is able to today. The company has had some real highs and lows over the last few years, but they've made the money hold out long enough to see this. In combination with 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin (but not as a stand-alone), the company MM-398 showed a real increase in survival.
As you might expect, that increase can be looked at more than one way. The standard-of-care group made it for about four months, and the treatment group for about six. You can say "just two months more" or "fifty per cent improvement", as you wish. I hope that I never have to think about advanced pancreatic cancer survival figures in detail, is all I can say. It's worth noting that MM-398 is not some new compound or new mechanism - it's a new way to dose the well-known drug irinotecan, which is already part of the standard regiment for the disease. The company has made a liposomal formulation, and that data would indicate that this really does make a difference. Congratulations to them - that's a very, very tough patient population to see anything happen in.
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