Lilly's pancreatic cancer treatment fails late-stage study

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Lilly is seen on a wall of the Lilly France company unit, part of the Eli Lilly and Co drugmaker group, in Fegersheim near Strasbourg, France, February 1, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

(Reuters) – Eli Lilly and Co said on Wednesday its experimental pancreatic cancer treatment in combination with chemotherapy drugs failed to meet the main goal of overall survival in a late-stage study.

Lilly shares fell 1.6% to $108 in premarket trading.

The trial evaluated Lilly’s pegilodecakin plus Folfox, which is a combination of chemotherapy drugs, compared to Folfox alone in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Lilly, which gained access to pegilodecakin with its $1.6 billion acquisition of Armo Biosciences in 2018, said it would conduct trials in lung cancer and other tumor types including renal cell carcinoma, where the molecule has shown promising activity.

Pegilodecakin is a naturally occurring immune growth factor called a pegylated interleukin-10 that stimulates the survival, expansion and killing potential of a particular type of white blood cell in the immune system.

Metastatic pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest major cancers, with just 3% of patients in the U.S. living five years after the cancer is diagnosed.

Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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