Merck takes back Japan Erbitux marketing rights, ending BMS arrangement

SINGAPORE--Merck KGaA said it has taken back Japan marketing rights for its best-selling Erbitux (cetuximab) cancer drug, ending its shared arrangement with Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) effective May 1.

The move was seen by the German Merck as indicative of its increasing presence in the Japan market that already serves as its Southeast Asia regional research and development center.

The joint promotion arrangement was first established in September 2008 after Japan approved the drug for treating metastatic colorectal cancer. Later, in 2012, Japan authorities granted an additional indication for treatment of head and neck cancer.

Financial aspects of the new deal were not disclosed.

- read the release