Erbitux drug shows new lung cancer benefit -broker

Cancer drug Erbitux has shown an unexpected survival benefit in a second Phase III trial in lung cancer, boosting prospects for its European marketer Merck KGaA , Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note on Monday.
The brokerage said it had learnt from "a reliable public source" that Erbitux had demonstrated the benefit in the BMS-099 trial for first line metastatic lung cancer.
Erbitux was initially developed for colon cancer by U.S. group ImClone Systems Inc . It is sold in the United States by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co .
Morgan Stanley said the companies had declined to confirm the news, but shares in Germany's Merck KGaA were likely to rally strongly, ahead of the big ASCO cancer meeting at the end of May.

Erbitux competes with Avastin, which is made by Genentech Inc and Roche Holding AG .
"An additional 400 million euros revenue for Erbitux in 2012 would translate into a 15 percent increase in our Merck KGaA EPS estimate," the brokerage said. "We are maintaining our current forecast of 300 million euros in lung in 2012 unchanged until we see the FLEX and BMS-099 data."

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