Biotechnology giant Amgen is stopping two trials of its experimental monoclonal antibody ganitumab in pancreatic cancer after the drug failed to show much benefit to patients.

With the Phase III GAMMA study the company and its partner Takeda were assessing the effect of adding ganitumab to the chemotherapy gemcitabine in the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas.

However, following an interim review of results an independent Data Monitoring Committee concluded that it was unlikely that the combination would demonstrate a statistically significant improvement in overall survival compared to gemcitabine alone.

"These disappointing results underscore the difficulty of treating pancreatic cancer, which remains a major unmet medical need," said Sean E Harper, executive vice president of Research and Development at Amgen.

Amgen said it has also decided to pull the plug on a Phase II trial of ganitumab in locally advanced pancreatic cancer in light of the findings.

And clinical studies looking at the drug in other tumours, including colorectal and small-cell lung cancer, are now also being reviewed by the firm, an Amgen spokeswoman told Bloomberg.

However, the groups shares seemed little affected by the news, dropping just $0.20 to close at $81.37.