ImmunoGen has received orphan drug designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for lorvotuzumab mertansine for the treatment of small cell lung cancer.

The drug has already received orphan drug designation for the treatment of Merkel cell carcinoma.

ImmunoGen president and CEO Daniel Junius said the drug had shown encouraging initial activity and tolerability when used as a single agent to treat relapsed small cell lung cancer.

“We’re planning to start a trial later this year that assesses the compound, used together with standard care, for first-line treatment of this cancer,” he added.

Orphan drug designation is granted to those drugs that treat condition affecting fewer than 200,000 people.