Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (MACK) recently announced that it has completed the enrollment process for a phase II trial on its oncology candidate, MM-121. The phase II trial is designed to evaluate the efficacy of MM-121 in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY) Taxol (paclitaxel) in advanced ovarian cancer patients who are platinum-resistant or platinum refractory. Merrimack is collaborating with Sanofi (SNY) for MM-121.
The open-label, randomized phase II trial is designed to evaluate the efficacy of MM-121 in combination with Taxol versus Taxol alone in 223 patients enrolled in the US and Europe. The primary endpoint of the trial is progression-free survival (PFS). Merrimack expects that top-line data from the phase II trial will be released in the second half of 2013.
MM-121 is also being evaluated for other oncology indications including hormone sensitive breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (:NSCLC) and HER2 negative neoadjuvant breast cancer.
We note that Merrimack and Sanofi inked an exclusive global licensing agreement in Oct 2009 for the development and co-commercialization of MM-121. Under the terms of the agreement, for each indication, Merrimack will be responsible for the development of MM-121 till phase II proof-of-concept. Thereafter Sanofi will take up development and commercialization activities. Merrimack has the right to co-promote MM-121in the US, following its approval.
Sanofi carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) in the short run, while Merrimack carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Right now, Novo Nordisk (NVO) looks more attractive in the pharma space with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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