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Lilly's pancreatic cancer drug fails to improve survival in late-stage trial

Eli Lilly and Co.'s drug pegilodecakin in combination with chemotherapy Folfox did not meet the main goal of a late-stage study as the drug failed to improve overall survival in certain patients with a type of pancreatic cancer.

The Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical giant said the drug combination was being evaluated against the chemotherapy regimen alone in a phase 3 trial called Sequoia in patients with pancreatic cancer whose disease had progressed during or following an initial treatment with the chemotherapy gemcitabine.

Lilly said that patients receiving the drug combination experienced more adverse events — including low levels of platelets and neutropenia, a type of white blood cell, and anemia — compared to patients on Folfox alone.

The company said detailed efficacy and safety results will be submitted for presentation at a future medical meeting.

Lilly plans to turn its focus to pegilodecakin's clinical development in non-small cell lung cancer and other tumor types including renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer.

Lilly gained pegilodecakin in June 2018 following the $1.6 billion acquisition of ARMO BioSciences Inc.