Amgen drug flunks head-and-neck cancer trial

Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) released some rueful numbers on Vectibix today; the cancer drug failed a new trial in head-and-neck cancers. Adding Vectibix to chemo didn't improve overall survival, the company said, although the drug did delay tumor growth slightly better. And it was also slightly better at shrinking some patients' tumors, but neither result was examined for statistical significance.

Not surprisingly, Amgen executives weren't happy. "The outcome of this study is disappointing," Roger Perlmutter, Amgen's EVP of R&D, says in a statement. "However, Vectibix remains an important monotherapy treatment option for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer whose disease has progressed on other therapies."

The company has been trying to develop Vectibix for use against other cancers, so naturally these results are a setback. Full results of the study will be revealed at an oncology conference in October, the company says.

- see the Amgen release
- get more from Dow Jones