Amgen Inc. on Thursday said its medicine for colon cancer significantly slowed tumor growth in a study involving patients who have failed chemotherapy treatment.

A study of 463 patients taking the Thousand Oaks-based biotech company's panitumumab drug once every two weeks showed a 46 percent decrease in the tumor progression rate compared with those who received only supportive care.

The results exceeded the company's target for a 33 percent decrease, sending shares of Amgen up 4.9 percent to settle at $77.51 on Thursday.

The study consisted of patients with colon cancer that had spread and who had failed standard chemotherapy. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and in women in the United States.

Amgen said it plans to start the process of applying for approval from the Food and Drug Administration by the end of the year with the aim of completing its submission in the first quarter of 2006.

Fremont-based Abgenix helped develop panitumumab, and will get a share of the drug's profits if it is approved.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.