Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that ImClone/Bristol-Myers Squibb/Merck KGaA's Erbitux will become the market leader among treatments for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Erbitux will achieve sales of $250 million in 2015, a five-fold increase over the total market in 2005 to treat the disease in the world's major pharmaceutical markets.

According to the new Pharmacor report entitled Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck, Erbitux, which was launched in the United States and Europe earlier this year, will provide a clinical benchmark and a measure of commercial potential for any agent that is approved to treat squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Although Erbitux does not significantly improve cure rates in regionally advanced or recurred/metastatic forms of the disease, its main advantage over conventional chemotherapy is its safety profile.

The report also finds that available treatments for advanced stages of the disease offer suboptimal prognosis and are associated with significant toxicities. As a result, a new entrant into the market that could offer significant efficacy or convenience benefits in treating advanced-stage disease would likely be widely adopted.

"The therapy market for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck is characterized by severe unmet need," said Mohamed Muhsin, analyst at Decision Resources. "Any therapy that can offer clinical benefit greater than that of Erbitux and other conventional therapies would be well received. However, the lack of promising clinical data suggests that no new treatments will enter the market during our 2005-2015 study period, and difficulties in patient recruitment, trial designs, and low incidence rates will also constrain investment in research and development."

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SOURCE: Decision Resources

CONTACT: Elizabeth Marshall of Decision Resources, Inc.,

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