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Bristol-Myers, Lilly Approved to Market Wider Erbitux Use

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Nov. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Eli Lilly & Co. won U.S. approval to expand marketing of the cancer drug Erbitux for late-stage head and neck tumors.

The Food and Drug Administration cleared the medicine for use with chemotherapy to treat patients with head and neck cancer that has spread, the agency said today in a statement.

Erbitux, made by Indianapolis-based Lilly’s ImClone unit, already is approved in the U.S. to treat colon cancer and head and neck tumors that haven’t spread. Bristol-Myers, based in New York, generated $662 million in 2010 sales from the drug, while Lilly’s manufacturing revenue was $71.9 million. Lilly acquired ImClone in 2008.

“Erbitux’s ability to extend the lives of patients with head and neck cancers is an important tool for oncologists who often rely on a multitreatment approach for patients,” Richard Pazdur, director of the Office of Oncology Drug Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in the statement.

Bristol-Myers rose less than 1 percent to $31.39 at the close in New York. Lilly advanced 1.1 percent to $38.35.

To contact the reporter on this story: Molly Peterson in Washington at mpeterson9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Adriel Bettelheim at abettelheim@bloomberg.net.

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