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Celgene's Abraxane fails late-stage pancreatic cancer trial

Celgene Corp.'s cancer drug Abraxane failed a late-stage pancreatic cancer trial in combination with chemotherapy in patients who had undergone surgery to treat the disease.

In the phase 3 trial, patients taking Abraxane with a chemotherapy medicine did not see an improvement in their lifespan versus those receiving just chemotherapy. Overall survival was improved for patients taking the combination of Abraxane and chemotherapy drug gemcitabine versus those on gemcitabine alone.

The drug's safety profile remained consistent with previous studies. Celgene will present the full data at a future medical conference.

Abraxane was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in combination with gemcitabine in 2013 as the first treatment for metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult to treat due to its complexity. The likelihood of a patient living more than five years is 8%, according to a release from Celgene.

Abraxane is one of the pipeline draws for Celgene's acquisition by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. for a proposed $95 billion, subject to approval by both companies' shareholders.

The merger is under fire from investors for the "patent cliff" on Celgene's cancer drug Revlimid, and executives at Bristol-Myers have touted the company's pipeline as an important part of the deal moving forward.