Bristol-Myers Says Liver Cancer Drug Didn’t Meet Goals in Trial

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) said its experimental brivanib drug for liver cancer didn’t improve patient survival better than a placebo.

The study, one of four final-stage clinical trials evaluating brivanib in liver cancer, tested the experimental drug in patients who failed on or were intolerant to Nexavar, the liver cancer drug from Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Bayer AG, Bristol said today in a statement. New York-based Bristol will continue with the other trials, it said.

“We remain committed to the development of brivanib as a potential treatment option for patients with liver cancer,” said Brian Daniels, a Bristol senior vice president, in the statement. A study testing the drug as an initial treatment for liver cancer is expected to finish in 2012, the company said.

The failure “won’t matter much” as sales expectations for brivanib are not high, Mark Schoenebaum, an analyst at ISI Group, said in a research note. The most notable use for the drug is as an initial treatment, he said. The trial for that treatment is comparing the Bristol drug with Nexavar.

The failure of the drug to work in this study “reduces, but does not entirely rule out” the chances that brivanib will work as a first treatment, Schoenebaum wrote. Brivanib could have sales of $150 million in 2020, he said.

In its statement, Bristol said it would present detailed results of the failed study at a future scientific meeting.

Editors: Chris Staiti, Stephen West

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Langreth at rlangreth@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

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