Merck KGaA Doesn't Rule Out Pursuing Lung-Cancer Vaccine

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Merck KGaA (MRK) hasn’t ruled out pursuing its therapeutic cancer vaccine L-BLP25 after a trial showed the treatment prolonged the lives of a group of advanced lung cancer patients by 50 percent compared with placebo. A group of 806 patients who received the vaccine following a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy survived an average of 10 months longer than those who received the placebo, the Darmstadt, Germany-based maker of cancer drug Erbitux said in a statement yesterday. Merck said Dec. 19 that the experimental vaccine previously known as Stimuvax failed to show a significant improvement in overall survival among patients in the study. Most analysts haven’t included sales estimates for the treatment, which Merck initially expected to be a $1 billion-a-year product. Merck is still testing the vaccine in 425 patients in a trial in Asia called Inspire.

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