BOULDER - Biopharmaceutical company Array BioPharma Inc. plans to test a bone marrow cancer research drug on patients around the globe, after initial clinical results were positive for the drug, the company said Monday.

Boulder-based Array (Nasdaq: ARRY) officials said they have talked to U.S. Food and Drug Administration representatives about getting approval for filanesib, the research drug used to treat multiple myeloma, or bone marrow cancer. Research drugs go through extensive testing that can take up to 10 years before receiving FDA approval for commercial sale in the United States.

More than 70,000 bone marrow cancer patients around the globe may be candidates for the study, Array said in a press statement. As part of the study, filanesib may be given to patients along with other bone marrow cancer treatment drugs that already have been approved by the FDA, according to the press statement.

"Filanesib is a 'first-in-class' drug in myeloma that is well tolerated and has shown very encouraging clinical activity in heavily pretreated patients who have limited therapeutic options," Michael Needle, Array's chief medical officer, said in the press statement.

Array also is developing other drugs to treat cancer. The company partners with others on some other research drugs currently in development. For example, Array in October received $5 million from partner company AstraZeneca plc (NYSE: AZN) based in London, in connection with the lung cancer drug candidate selumetinib. Selumetinib also is being tested on human patients.