Merck KGaA expects to get a long-term boost from positive study results released in June on cancer drug Erbitux, as reported Chicago Tribune
The drug, which accounted for about 8 percent of Merck's 10.7 billion euros ($14.6 billion) in 2012 sales, was shown to be more effective at prolonging the lives of patients with colorectal cancer than Roche's Avastin.
"We still have room to grow in colorectal cancer due to our personalized KRAS-approach," said Belen Garijo, the head of Merck's prescription drugs division, adding that the study results would help her marketing teams argue the case for Erbitux.
"We do not expect to see a biosimilar for Erbitux for quite a few years," Garijo said.
Analysts on average expect sales of the drug to reach $1.25 billion in 2014, falling to $1.1 billion by 2018.
In 2012, Merck generated 887 million euros ($1.2 billion) in Erbitux sales and Bristol-Myers Squibb generated $702 million in sales from the drug, while Roche reported sales of 5.76 billion Swiss francs ($6.00 billion) from Avastin.