Merck Wins Big With Late-Stage Lung Cancer Drug Results

Print Email

Shares of Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) saw a handy gain on Tuesday after the pharma giant reported that its late-stage trial of Keytruda met its dual primary endpoints of overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS).

Specifically, this Phase 3 Keynote-189 was investigating Keytruda in combination with pemetrexed (Alimta) and cisplatin or carboplatin, for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer.

Based on an interim analysis conducted by the independent Data Monitoring Committee, treatment with Keytruda in combination with pemetrexed plus platinum chemotherapy resulted in significantly longer OS and PFS than pemetrexed plus platinum chemotherapy alone. The safety profile of Keytruda in this combination was consistent with that previously observed.

Keytruda is Merck’s bread and butter cancer drug, with multiple indications reaching across many different cancers, including melanoma, head and neck cancer, classical Hodgkin lymphoma, urothelial carcinoma, microsatellite instability-high cancer and gastric cancer.

Look for these Phase 3 Keynote results to be presented at an upcoming medical meeting and submitted to regulatory authorities in the near future.

Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter, President, Merck Research Laboratories, commented:

KEYNOTE-189 showed significant improvement in overall survival and progression-free survival for patients receiving KEYTRUDA in the first-line setting in combination with traditional chemotherapy, compared with those receiving chemotherapy alone. We are deeply grateful to the KEYNOTE-189 patients and investigators for their important contributions to this landmark study, and we look forward to presenting the data in the near future.

Shares of Merck were last seen up about 6.4% at $62.40, with a consensus analyst price target of $65.41 and a 52-week range of $53.63 to $66.80.