Avastin, Erbitux battle for lung cancer market

Genentech's stock was down this morning on results from a Phase III study of Avastin for non-small cell lung cancer. While the drug did meet the primary endpoint--an improvement in progression-free survival--it missed the secondary endpoint of prolonging overall survival.

Meanwhile, ImClone and European partner Merck KGaA are getting ready to announce results from a trial of Erbitux that shows the drug succeeded where Avastin did not. Erbitux successfully prolonged survival in lung cancer patients, but the specifics are being kept under wraps until the annual ASCO meeting in June. TheStreet observes that while the Avastin results won't cause doctors to stop using the drug, they may back off on the higher doses, which could shrink Genentech's revenue.

- see this release on the trial
- read TheStreet report for more on Erbitux