* Merck says will test drug against advanced breast cancer
* Company in race to bring cancer vaccine to market
* Oncothyreon shares jump 18 percent
(Adds Oncothyreon stock movement)
FRANKFURT, June 22 Merck KGaA (MRCG.DE) moved
its experimental cancer vaccine Stimuvax into the third and
last phase of testing required for regulatory approval to
investigate its use against breast cancer.
Germany's Merck, which co-develops Stimuvax with U.S.
biotech firm Oncothyreon ONTY.O ONY.TO, said on Monday the
trial, dubbed STRIDE(a), will involve patients with advanced,
inoperable breast cancer.
The news sent the shares of Oncothyreon up 17.8 percent to
C$3.04 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday afternoon after
touching a high of C$3.20 earlier in the day. On Nasdaq, the
shares were up 16.7 percent at $2.66.
The small biotechnology company changed its name from
Biomira and moved to the United States from Canada late last
Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer
after lung cancer and is the leading cause of cancer deaths in
The drug, which is also being tested against lung cancer in
Phase III, has been shown to prime the body's immune system to
detect and attack cancer cells.
Germany's Merck is racing with biotech firms including
Transgene (TRNG.PA), Dendreon Corp DNDN.O and Antigenics
(AGEN.O) to bring cancer vaccines to market.
While Transgene's TG4010 compound also targets lung tumors,
the most common form of cancer, the Dendreon and Antigenics
drug candidates are aimed at prostate cancer and brain cancer,
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger and Scott Anderson in Toronto;
editing by Peter Galloway)