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European Medicines Agency advisory committee gives 'negative opinion' of expanded use of Erbitux

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DARMSTADT, Germany An advisory committee in Europe has given a thumbs-down to efforts by Merck KGaA to gain approval for an additional use of a cancer drug.

Merck KGaA announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, the scientific advisory committee of the European Medicines Agency, gave a “negative opinion” for Erbitux (cetuximab) combined with platinum-based chemotherapy in patients with epidermal growth factor receptor-expressing non-small cell lung cancer.

The company, not to be confused with U.S.-based Merck & Co., said it would continue clinical development of the drug in search of other potential applications.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Eli Lilly & Co. subsidiary ImClone Systems market Erbitux in the United States and Canada for treating colorectal, head and neck cancers, while Merck KGaA markets the drug in Europe and elsewhere, and all three market it in Japan.

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