Germany's Merck KGaA has launched a late-stage trial of the therapeutic vaccine Stimuvax in patients with breast cancer. Already in a Phase III study for non-small cell lung cancer, Merck is out to determine if the vaccine can extend the lives of patients in other cancer populations as well. And the pharma giant has high hopes for Stimuvax, projecting blockbuster sales of at least a billion dollars a year.
The Stride study will determine if Stimuvax can extend progression-free survival in patients treated with hormonal therapy who have hormone receptor-positive, locally advanced, recurrent or metastatic breast cancer. Overall survival, quality of life, tumor response and safety will also be assessed in this study. Researchers plan to recruit more than 900 patients for the trial.
"The initiation of the Stride study is an enormous step forward in clinical breast cancer research and represents our continued commitment to developing Stimuvax within a robust clinical trial program across several cancer types," said Dr Oliver Kisker, senior vice-president, global clinical development unit oncology of Merck Serono. "We are very excited that Stimuvax will now be tested in two different cancer types in phase III."