Merck Cancer Therapies/PD-1
PD-L1, also called programmed death-ligand 1, is a protein expressed on many types of cells, including some cancer cells......As of ASCO, data presented has demonstrated anti-tumor activity with KEYTRUDA in 13 different tumor types. Registrational trials are planned or ongoing in eight different tumor types, as monotherapy and in combination with other therapies. KEYTRUDA was the first anti-PD-1 therapy approved in the United States and is currently indicated at a dose of 2 mg/kg administered every three weeks for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma and disease progression following ipilimumab and, if BRAF V600 mutation positive, a BRAF inhibitor.
Findings Presented at 2015 ASCO Annual Meeting Add to Breadth of KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Data; Anti-Tumor Activity Now Demonstrated in 13 Different Tumor Types
New Data Presented at ASCO in Multiple, Difficult-to-Treat Cancers, including Small Cell Lung, Esophageal and Ovarian Cancers
Registrational Studies for KEYTRUDA Ongoing in Eight Different Tumor Types
Monday, June 1
Merck and Dynavax Announce New Collaboration Investigating the Combination of Immuno-Oncology Therapies
Studies to Evaluate the Combination of Dynavax's SD-101 with Two Immunotherapies from Merck's Pipeline, KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) and MK-1966
Collaboration Includes First-in-human Study for MK-1966, a New Investigational Anti-interleukin-10 (anti-IL-10) Immunomodulator from Merck's Rapidly Growing Immuno-oncology Pipeline ..........KEYTRUDA is a humanized monoclonal antibody that blocks the interaction between PD-1 (programmed death receptor-1) and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2. MK-1966 is an investigational anti-IL-10 immunomodulator designed to neutralize the immune-suppressive environment for tumors
Amgen and Merck Announce Expansion of Collaboration to Support Studies of Talimogene Laherparepvec in Combination with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer
Companies Also Plan to Initiate Phase 3 Trial in Combination for Advanced Melanoma
Friday, May 29
TESARO and Merck to Collaborate on a Combination Study of Niraparib and KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab)
Clinical Trial Will Evaluate TESARO's PARP Inhibitor with Merck's Anti-PD-1 Therapy in Patients with Breast and Ovarian Cancers
Saturday, May 30,
FDA Accepts Supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), Merck's Anti-PD-1 Therapy, in Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, and Grants Priority Review
KEYNOTE-001 Data Served as the Basis for U.S. FDA Filing and Breakthrough Therapy Designation in Advanced NSCLC Across Histologies
Monday, June 1, 2015
KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted for review the supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for Merck's anti-PD-1 therapy, KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), for the treatment of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease has progressed on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy and an FDA-approved therapy for EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations, if present. The FDA granted Priority Review with a PDUFA, or target action, date of October 2, 2015; the sBLA will be reviewed under the FDA's Accelerated Approval program.
"Today's announcement reflects our commitment to accelerate the development of immunotherapeutic approaches to treat lung cancer, one of the most deadly malignancies," said Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter, president, Merck Research Laboratories. "We believe that data submitted to the FDA illustrate the significant potential of KEYTRUDA to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer - and we look forward to working with the FDA to bring our anti-PD-1 therapy to patients afflicted with this devastating cancer."
The sBLA submission was based in part on data from KEYNOTE-001 - including patients with greater than or equal to 50 percent of tumor cells positive for PD-L1 expression - which were presented at the 2015 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting (link). These data also served as the basis for the FDA Breakthrough Therapy designation for KEYTRUDA in advanced NSCLC. Merck has filed for approval of KEYTRUDA monotherapy at a dose of 2 mg/kg every three weeks, which is the currently approved dose for advanced melanoma.
As previously announced, a Premarket Approval Application (PMA) was submitted by Dako North America, Inc., an Agilent Technologies Company, for an immunohistochemistry companion diagnostic test that detects PD-L1 expression, PD-L1 IHC 22C3 PharmDx™.
About Lung Cancer
Lung cancer, which forms in the tissues of the lungs, usually within cells lining the air passages, is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than die of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. The two main types of lung cancer are NSCLC and SCLC. NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for about 85 percent of all cases. The five-year relative survival rate for patients suffering from highly advanced, metastatic (Stage IV) lung cancers is estimated to be four percent.
About KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab)
KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) is a humanized monoclonal antibody that blocks the interaction between PD-1 and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2. By binding to the PD-1 receptor and blocking the interaction with the receptor ligands, KEYTRUDA releases the PD-1 pathway-mediated inhibition of the immune response, including the anti-tumor immune response.
KEYTRUDA is indicated in the United States at a dose of 2 mg/kg administered as an intravenous infusion over 30 minutes every three weeks for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma and disease progression following ipilimumab and, if BRAF V600 mutation positive, a BRAF inhibitor. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. An improvement in survival or disease-related symptoms has not yet been established. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials.
Merck is advancing a broad and fast-growing clinical development program for KEYTRUDA with more than 100 clinical trials - across more than 30 tumor types and enrolling more than 16,000 patients - both as a monotherapy and in combination with other therapies.
Selected Important Safety Information for KEYTRUDA
Pneumonitis occurred in 12 (2.9%) of 411 patients with advanced melanoma receiving KEYTRUDA (the approved indication in the United States), including Grade 2 or 3 cases in 8 (1.9%) and 1 (0.2%) patients, respectively. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of pneumonitis. Evaluate suspected pneumonitis with radiographic imaging. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater pneumonitis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 pneumonitis.
Colitis (including microscopic colitis) occurred in 4 (1%) of 411 patients, including Grade 2 or 3 cases in 1 (0.2%) and 2 (0.5%) patients respectively, receiving KEYTRUDA. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of colitis.
Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater colitis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2 or 3; permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 4 colitis.
Hepatitis (including autoimmune hepatitis) occurred in 2 (0.5%) of 411 patients, including a Grade 4 case in 1 (0.2%) patient, receiving KEYTRUDA. Monitor patients for changes in liver function. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater hepatitis and, based on severity of liver enzyme elevations, withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA.
Hypophysitis occurred in 2 (0.5%) of 411 patients, including a Grade 2 case in 1 and a Grade 4 case in 1 (0.2% each) patient, receiving KEYTRUDA. Monitor for signs and symptoms of hypophysitis. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater hypophysitis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; withhold or discontinue for Grade 3; and permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 4 hypophysitis.
Nephritis occurred in 3 (0.7%) patients receiving KEYTRUDA, consisting of one case of Grade 2 autoimmune nephritis (0.2%) and two cases of interstitial nephritis with renal failure (0.5%), one Grade 3 and one Grade 4. Monitor patients for changes in renal function. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater nephritis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 nephritis.
Hyperthyroidism occurred in 5 (1.2%) of 411 patients, including Grade 2 or 3 cases in 2 (0.5%) and 1 (0.2%) patients respectively, receiving KEYTRUDA.
Hypothyroidism occurred in 34 (8.3%) of 411 patients, including a Grade 3 case in 1 (0.2%) patient, receiving KEYTRUDA. Thyroid disorders can occur at any time during treatment. Monitor patients for changes in thyroid function (at the start of treatment, periodically during treatment, and as indicated based on clinical evaluation) and for clinical signs and symptoms of thyroid disorders. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 3 or greater hyperthyroidism. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 3; permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 4 hyperthyroidism. Isolated hypothyroidism may be managed with replacement therapy without treatment interruption and without corticosteroids.
Other clinically important immune-mediated adverse reactions can occur. The following clinically significant, immune-mediated adverse reactions occurred in less than 1% of patients treated with KEYTRUDA: exfoliative dermatitis, uveitis, arthritis, myositis, pancreatitis, hemolytic anemia, partial seizures arising in a patient with inflammatory foci in brain parenchyma, adrenal insufficiency, myasthenic syndrome, optic neuritis, and rhabdomyolysis.
For suspected immune-mediated adverse reactions, ensure adequate evaluation to confirm etiology or exclude other causes. Based on the severity of the adverse reaction, withhold KEYTRUDA and administer corticosteroids. Upon improvement of the adverse reaction to Grade 1 or less, initiate corticosteroid taper and continue to taper over at least 1 month. Restart KEYTRUDA if the adverse reaction remains at Grade 1 or less. Permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for any severe or Grade 3 immune-mediated adverse reaction that recurs and for any life-threatening immune-mediated adverse reaction.
Based on its mechanism of action, KEYTRUDA may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. If used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant during treatment, apprise the patient of the potential hazard to a fetus. Advise females of reproductive potential to use highly effective contraception during treatment and for 4 months after the last dose of KEYTRUDA.
For the treatment of advanced melanoma, KEYTRUDA was discontinued for adverse reactions in 6% of 89 patients who received the recommended dose of 2 mg/kg and 9% of 411 patients across all doses studied. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 36% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA. The most frequent serious adverse drug reactions reported in 2% or more of patients were renal failure, dyspnea, pneumonia, and cellulitis.
The most common adverse reactions (reported in ≥20% of patients) were fatigue (47%), cough (30%), nausea (30%), pruritus (30%), rash (29%), decreased appetite (26%), constipation (21%), arthralgia (20%), and diarrhea (20%).
The recommended dose of KEYTRUDA is 2 mg/kg administered as an intravenous infusion over 30 minutes every three weeks until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. No formal pharmacokinetic drug interaction studies have been conducted with KEYTRUDA. It is not known whether KEYTRUDA is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, instruct women to discontinue nursing during treatment with KEYTRUDA. Safety and effectiveness of KEYTRUDA have not been established in pediatric patients.
Our Focus on Cancer
Our goal is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. At Merck Oncology, helping people fight cancer is our passion and supporting accessibility to our cancer medicines is our commitment. Our focus is on pursuing research in immuno-oncology and we are accelerating every step in the journey - from lab to clinic - to potentially bring new hope to people with cancer. For more information about our oncology clinical trials, visit www.merck.com/clinicaltrials.
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Please see Prescribing Information for KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) at
and the Medication Guide for KEYTRUDA at