NEW TREATMENT OPTION FOR SECOND LEADING CAUSE OF CANCER DEATHS IN CANADA
Health Canada approves Erbitux® for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer
MONTREAL, CANADA – (September 15, 2005) – Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada and ImClone Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ: IMCL) announced today that Health Canada's Biologics and Genetic Therapies Directorate has approved ERBITUX® (Cetuximab) injection as a treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer. ERBITUX has been approved for use in combination with irinotecan in the treatment of patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) - expressing, metastatic colorectal cancer who are refractory to other irinotecan-based chemotherapy, and as single agent therapy for patients who are intolerant to irinotecan-based chemotherapy.
"ERBITUX is a promising new option for patients in whom irinotecan-based chemotherapy is no longer effective or tolerated," said Doctor Derek Jonker, of the Regional Cancer Centre, in Ottawa. "Clinical studies indicate that non-chemotherapeutic molecular drugs are effective in treating metastatic colorectal cancer."
ERBITUX targets metastatic colorectal cancer cells expressing epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) on their surface. In Canada, an estimated 19,100 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year. Half of these patients have metastatic disease, or cancer that has spread to other organs, at the time of diagnosis. EGFR is expressed in over 80 per cent of colorectal cancer tumours.
"Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Canada. New and potentially life-saving treatments are always welcome," said Barry Stein, President of the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada. "We are pleased that ERBITUX is now approved for treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer in Canada."
Bristol-Myers Squibb expects to have ERBITUX available for Canadian patients in the coming weeks and will work with federal, provincial and regional authorities/hospitals to ensure patients have timely access to this new treatment.
"Bristol-Myers Squibb is deeply committed to delivering innovative oncology treatments to Canadian patients in need," said Judy Robertson, General Manager, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada. "Bristol-Myers Squibb will work closely with health authorities to provide rapid access for Canadian patients to this innovative cancer therapy."
ERBITUX binds specifically to epidermal growth factor receptor on both normal and tumour cells, and competitively inhibits the binding of EGF and other ligands. Over-expression of EGFR has been detected in many human cancers including those of the colon and rectum. At this time, Canadian cancer centres are participating in several international clinical trials which include hundreds of patients taking ERBITUX.
About Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada
Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, a global pharmaceutical and related health care products company whose mission is to extend and enhance human life. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company of Canada is a leading provider of medicines to fight cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, infectious diseases - including HIV/AIDS -, nervous system diseases and serious mental illness. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the BMY symbol (NYSE:BMY). Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada's operations are headquartered in Montréal, Québec.