Mercks to Lead Squamous Lung Cancer Treatment With Keytruda

May 24, 2018  Source: Ddu 231

Pharma giant Merck & Co. revealed Keytruda had perfectly completed its final-stage research on the drug for previously untreated patients with skin cancer, who represent about 25% to 30% of the overall market.

“The new successful drug held off cancer growth and helped patients live longer; comparing with chemo alone—something it’s already done in other front-line populations. And now, the areas in which Keytruda have shown positive data in lung cancer represent a potential market opportunity of $6.6 billion in the U.S. alone”, Credit Suisse analyst Vamil Divan, M.D stated.

The new drug from Merck is a bummer for Roche and its PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor Tecentriq, which was developed in March with positive results in an area of lung cancer, earlier than its competitor. Merck now matches to Roche in terms of disease-free survival, but it has an overall survival victory often considered as a more important endpoint to its name, too.

Back in 2016, Merck’s no.1 rival, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo, flopped a first-line monotherapy trial in a non-squamous NSCLC. Keytruda has been leading the lung cancer race since then. Merck is the only one to get approval from the FDA for Keytruda in that group, followed by a quick chemo-combo approval. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers are still putting efforts to up positive data for their own combos, which combine PD-1/PD-L1

By Ddu