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Merck takes promotional responsibility for Erbitux in Japan

Currently co-promotes the drug withBristol-Myers Squibb

Erbitux - Merck KGaA 

Merck has revealed it will take full promotional responsibility for metastatic colorectal cancer drug Erbitux in Japan, effective from May 1 this year.

Erbitux (cetuximab) is a highly active IgG1 monoclonal antibody that targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).

Merck has collaboratively promoted Erbitux with Bristol-Myers Squibb since 2008.

Elcin Ergun, head of global commercial at Merck Serono, commented: “With this agreement, Japan will increasingly become a key focus country for us as it complements our Asia-centric research and development strategies.

“As a result, we plan to work diligently to develop therapies that best suit the unmet need and the epidemiological profiles of Asian patient populations.”

Erbitux has had an eventful few months, most recently with it being named as one of the drugs to be delisted from the Cancer Drugs Fund effective from March 12 of this year.

The oncology drug, which also has licences for head and neck cancers, was recently cited by the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) as part of a breach of the ABPI's code of practice.

This came after Merck Serono was accused of issuing a press release containing misleading claims of its effectiveness, following a complaint by rival cancer drug firm Roche.

Merck has positioned Japan as its regional research and development hub for North East Asia and will hope the new development will further support its growing oncology presence in the region.

Article by
Kirstie Pickering

18th February 2015

From: Sales

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