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KEYTRUDA Is the First Anti-PD-1L1 Therapy to Show Recurrence-Free Survival Benefit in the Adjuvant Setting for Stage IIB and IIC Melanoma KEYTRUDA Is Now Approved as Adjuvant Treatment for Patients With Completely Resected Melanoma Across Stage IIB, Stage IIC and Stage III Disease Merck known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved ...

KEYTRUDA Is the First Anti-PD-1/L1 Therapy to Show Recurrence-Free Survival Benefit in the Adjuvant Setting for Stage IIB and IIC Melanoma

KEYTRUDA Is Now Approved as Adjuvant Treatment for Patients (≥12 Years of Age) With Completely Resected Melanoma Across Stage IIB, Stage IIC and Stage III Disease

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved KEYTRUDA, Merck's anti-PD-1 therapy, for the adjuvant treatment of adult and pediatric (12 years and older) patients with stage IIB or IIC melanoma following complete resection. Additionally, the FDA expanded the indication for KEYTRUDA as adjuvant treatment for stage III melanoma following complete resection to include pediatric patients (12 years and older).

The approval in stage IIB and IIC melanoma is based on data from the first interim analysis of the Phase 3 KEYNOTE-716 trial, in which KEYTRUDA showed a statistically significant improvement in recurrence-free survival (RFS), reducing the risk of disease recurrence or death by 35% (HR=0.65 [95% CI, 0.46-0.92]; p=0.0132) compared to placebo. Median RFS was not reached for either group. After a median follow-up of 14.4 months, 11% (n=54/487) of patients who received KEYTRUDA had recurrence or died compared to 17% (n=82/489) of patients who received placebo. Efficacy in pediatric patients (12 years and older) with stage IIB, IIC and III melanoma is supported by extrapolation of efficacy data from adults, given similar biology, pharmacology of drug effect, as well as similar exposure-response for efficacy and safety.

Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can occur in any organ system or tissue and can affect more than one body system simultaneously. Immune-mediated adverse reactions can occur at any time during or after treatment with KEYTRUDA, including pneumonitis, colitis, hepatitis, endocrinopathies, nephritis, dermatologic reactions, solid organ transplant rejection, and complications of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Important immune-mediated adverse reactions listed here may not include all possible severe and fatal immune-mediated adverse reactions. Early identification and management of immune-mediated adverse reactions are essential to ensure safe use of KEYTRUDA. Based on the severity of the adverse reaction, KEYTRUDA should be withheld or permanently discontinued and corticosteroids administered if appropriate. KEYTRUDA can also cause severe or life-threatening infusion-related reactions. Based on its mechanism of action, KEYTRUDA can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. For more information, see "Selected Important Safety Information" below.

"The standard of care for patients with resected stage IIB and IIC melanoma has been observation, despite the fact that for these patients, the risk of recurrence is nearly the same as for patients with later-stage disease for whom treatment is recommended," said Dr. Jason Luke, director, Cancer Immunotherapeutics Center at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. "Today's approval of pembrolizumab for the adjuvant treatment of patients 12 years and older with stage IIB and IIC melanoma following complete resection is an important advance that provides these patients with a new option that can help reduce the risk of their cancer returning."

"KEYTRUDA was the first anti-PD-1 therapy to be approved in metastatic melanoma in the U.S. seven years ago. Since then, we have built on this foundation in melanoma and have expanded the use of KEYTRUDA into earlier stages of this disease," said Dr. Scot Ebbinghaus, vice president, clinical research, Merck Research Laboratories. "With today's approval, we can now offer healthcare providers and patients 12 years and older the opportunity to help prevent melanoma recurrence with KEYTRUDA across resected stage IIB, stage IIC and stage III melanoma."

Study Design and Additional Data From KEYNOTE-716

KEYNOTE-716 (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03553836 ) is a multicenter, randomized (1:1), double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 3 trial that enrolled 976 patients with completely resected stage IIB or IIC melanoma. Patients were randomized to KEYTRUDA 200 mg or the pediatric (≥12 years old) dose of KEYTRUDA 2 mg/kg intravenously (up to a maximum of 200 mg) every three weeks or placebo for up to one year until disease recurrence or unacceptable toxicity. Randomization was stratified by AJCC eighth edition T Stage (>2.0-4.0 mm with ulceration vs. >4.0 mm without ulceration vs. >4.0 mm with ulceration). Patients must not have been previously treated for melanoma beyond complete surgical resection for their melanoma prior to study entry. The main efficacy outcome measure was investigator-assessed RFS (defined as the time between the date of randomization and the date of first recurrence [local, in-transit or regional lymph nodes or distant recurrence] or death, whichever occurred first). New primary melanomas were excluded from the definition of RFS. Patients underwent imaging every six months for one year from randomization, every six months from years two to four, and then once in year five from randomization or until recurrence, whichever came first.

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with stage IIB or IIC melanoma were similar to those occurring in 1,011 patients with stage III melanoma from KEYNOTE-054 or the 2,799 patients with melanoma or NSCLC treated with KEYTRUDA as a single agent. For more information, see "Selected Important Safety Information" below.

About Merck in Melanoma

Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells. The rates of melanoma have been rising over the past few decades, with nearly 325,000 new cases diagnosed worldwide in 2020. In the U.S., skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed, and melanoma accounts for a large majority of skin cancer deaths. It is estimated there will be more than 106,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed and more than 7,000 deaths resulting from the disease in the U.S. in 2021.

The recurrence rates for resected melanoma are estimated to be 32-46% for patients with stage IIB and stage IIC disease and 39-74% for patients with stage III disease. The five-year survival rates (AJCC eighth edition) are estimated to be 87% for stage IIB, 82% for stage IIC, 93% for stage IIIA, 83% for stage IIIB, 69% for stage IIIC and 32% for stage IIID.

Merck is committed to delivering meaningful advances for patients with melanoma with KEYTRUDA and to continuing research in skin cancers through a broad clinical development program. KEYTRUDA has been established as an important treatment option for the adjuvant treatment of adult patients with resected stage III melanoma and is approved in over 90 countries based on the results from EORTC1325/KEYNOTE-054. KEYTRUDA is also approved in over 90 countries for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

About Merck's Early-Stage Cancer Clinical Program

Finding cancer at an earlier stage may give patients a greater chance of long-term survival. Many cancers are considered most treatable and potentially curable in their earliest stage of disease. Building on the strong understanding of the role of KEYTRUDA in later-stage cancers, Merck is studying KEYTRUDA in earlier disease states, with approximately 20 ongoing registrational studies across multiple types of cancer.

About KEYTRUDA ® (pembrolizumab) Injection, 100 mg

KEYTRUDA is an anti-programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) therapy that works by increasing the ability of the body's immune system to help detect and fight tumor cells. KEYTRUDA is a humanized monoclonal antibody that blocks the interaction between PD-1 and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, thereby activating T lymphocytes which may affect both tumor cells and healthy cells.

Merck has the industry's largest immuno-oncology clinical research program. There are currently more than 1,600 trials studying KEYTRUDA across a wide variety of cancers and treatment settings. The KEYTRUDA clinical program seeks to understand the role of KEYTRUDA across cancers and the factors that may predict a patient's likelihood of benefitting from treatment with KEYTRUDA, including exploring several different biomarkers.

Selected KEYTRUDA ® (pembrolizumab) Indications in the U.S.

Melanoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the adjuvant treatment of adult and pediatric (12 years and older) patients with stage IIB, IIC, or III melanoma following complete resection.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations.

KEYTRUDA, in combination with carboplatin and either paclitaxel or paclitaxel protein-bound, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic squamous NSCLC.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with NSCLC expressing PD-L1 [tumor proportion score (TPS) ≥1%] as determined by an FDA-approved test, with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations, and is:

  • stage III where patients are not candidates for surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation, or
  • metastatic.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the treatment of patients with metastatic NSCLC whose tumors express PD-L1 (TPS ≥1%) as determined by an FDA-approved test, with disease progression on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy. Patients with EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations should have disease progression on FDA-approved therapy for these aberrations prior to receiving KEYTRUDA.

Head and Neck Squamous Cell Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with platinum and fluorouracil (FU), is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or with unresectable, recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or with unresectable, recurrent HNSCC whose tumors express PD-L1 [combined positive score (CPS) ≥1] as determined by an FDA-approved test.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic HNSCC with disease progression on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy.

Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL).

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of pediatric patients with refractory cHL, or cHL that has relapsed after 2 or more lines of therapy.

Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with refractory primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL), or who have relapsed after 2 or more prior lines of therapy. KEYTRUDA is not recommended for treatment of patients with PMBCL who require urgent cytoreductive therapy.

Urothelial Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC):

  • who are not eligible for any platinum-containing chemotherapy, or
  • who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy or within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.

Non-muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin-unresponsive, high-risk, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) with carcinoma in situ with or without papillary tumors who are ineligible for or have elected not to undergo cystectomy.

Microsatellite Instability-High or Mismatch Repair Deficient Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with unresectable or metastatic microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) solid tumors that have progressed following prior treatment and who have no satisfactory alternative treatment options.

This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials. The safety and effectiveness of KEYTRUDA in pediatric patients with MSI-H central nervous system cancers have not been established.

Microsatellite Instability-High or Mismatch Repair Deficient Colorectal Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic MSI-H or dMMR colorectal cancer (CRC).

Gastric Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with trastuzumab, fluoropyrimidine- and platinum-containing chemotherapy, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic HER2-positive gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma.

This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials.

Esophageal Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic esophageal or GEJ (tumors with epicenter 1 to 5 centimeters above the GEJ) carcinoma that is not amenable to surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation either:

  • in combination with platinum- and fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy, or
  • as a single agent after one or more prior lines of systemic therapy for patients with tumors of squamous cell histology that express PD-L1 (CPS ≥10) as determined by an FDA-approved test.

Cervical Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with chemotherapy, with or without bevacizumab, is indicated for the treatment of patients with persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cervical cancer whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS ≥1) as determined by an FDA-approved test.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer with disease progression on or after chemotherapy whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS ≥1) as determined by an FDA-approved test.

Hepatocellular Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who have been previously treated with sorafenib. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials.

Renal Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA, in combination with axitinib, is indicated for the first-line treatment of adult patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the adjuvant treatment of patients with RCC at intermediate-high or high risk of recurrence following nephrectomy, or following nephrectomy and resection of metastatic lesions.

Tumor Mutational Burden-High Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with unresectable or metastatic tumor mutational burden-high (TMB-H) [≥10 mutations/megabase] solid tumors, as determined by an FDA-approved test, that have progressed following prior treatment and who have no satisfactory alternative treatment options. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials. The safety and effectiveness of KEYTRUDA in pediatric patients with TMB-H central nervous system cancers have not been established.

Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) or locally advanced cSCC that is not curable by surgery or radiation.

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with high-risk early-stage triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) in combination with chemotherapy as neoadjuvant treatment, and then continued as a single agent as adjuvant treatment after surgery.

KEYTRUDA, in combination with chemotherapy, is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally recurrent unresectable or metastatic TNBC whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS ≥10) as determined by an FDA-approved test.

Selected Important Safety Information for KEYTRUDA

Severe and Fatal Immune-Mediated Adverse Reactions

KEYTRUDA is a monoclonal antibody that belongs to a class of drugs that bind to either the PD-1 or the PD-L1, blocking the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway, thereby removing inhibition of the immune response, potentially breaking peripheral tolerance and inducing immune-mediated adverse reactions. Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can occur in any organ system or tissue, can affect more than one body system simultaneously, and can occur at any time after starting treatment or after discontinuation of treatment. Important immune-mediated adverse reactions listed here may not include all possible severe and fatal immune-mediated adverse reactions.

Monitor patients closely for symptoms and signs that may be clinical manifestations of underlying immune-mediated adverse reactions. Early identification and management are essential to ensure safe use of anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatments. Evaluate liver enzymes, creatinine, and thyroid function at baseline and periodically during treatment. For patients with TNBC treated with KEYTRUDA in the neoadjuvant setting, monitor blood cortisol at baseline, prior to surgery, and as clinically indicated. In cases of suspected immune-mediated adverse reactions, initiate appropriate workup to exclude alternative etiologies, including infection. Institute medical management promptly, including specialty consultation as appropriate.

Withhold or permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA depending on severity of the immune-mediated adverse reaction. In general, if KEYTRUDA requires interruption or discontinuation, administer systemic corticosteroid therapy (1 to 2 mg/kg/day prednisone or equivalent) until improvement to Grade 1 or less. Upon improvement to Grade 1 or less, initiate corticosteroid taper and continue to taper over at least 1 month. Consider administration of other systemic immunosuppressants in patients whose adverse reactions are not controlled with corticosteroid therapy.

Immune-Mediated Pneumonitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated pneumonitis. The incidence is higher in patients who have received prior thoracic radiation. Immune-mediated pneumonitis occurred in 3.4% (94/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including fatal (0.1%), Grade 4 (0.3%), Grade 3 (0.9%), and Grade 2 (1.3%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 67% (63/94) of patients. Pneumonitis led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 1.3% (36) and withholding in 0.9% (26) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement; of these, 23% had recurrence. Pneumonitis resolved in 59% of the 94 patients.

Pneumonitis occurred in 8% (31/389) of adult patients with cHL receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent, including Grades 3-4 in 2.3% of patients. Patients received high-dose corticosteroids for a median duration of 10 days (range: 2 days to 53 months). Pneumonitis rates were similar in patients with and without prior thoracic radiation. Pneumonitis led to discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 5.4% (21) of patients. Of the patients who developed pneumonitis, 42% interrupted KEYTRUDA, 68% discontinued KEYTRUDA, and 77% had resolution.

Immune-Mediated Colitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated colitis, which may present with diarrhea. Cytomegalovirus infection/reactivation has been reported in patients with corticosteroid-refractory immune-mediated colitis. In cases of corticosteroid-refractory colitis, consider repeating infectious workup to exclude alternative etiologies. Immune-mediated colitis occurred in 1.7% (48/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 4 (

Hepatotoxicity and Immune-Mediated Hepatitis

KEYTRUDA as a Single Agent

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated hepatitis. Immune-mediated hepatitis occurred in 0.7% (19/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 4 (

KEYTRUDA With Axitinib

KEYTRUDA in combination with axitinib can cause hepatic toxicity. Monitor liver enzymes before initiation of and periodically throughout treatment. Consider monitoring more frequently as compared to when the drugs are administered as single agents. For elevated liver enzymes, interrupt KEYTRUDA and axitinib, and consider administering corticosteroids as needed. With the combination of KEYTRUDA and axitinib, Grades 3 and 4 increased alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (20%) and increased aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (13%) were seen at a higher frequency compared to KEYTRUDA alone. Fifty-nine percent of the patients with increased ALT received systemic corticosteroids. In patients with ALT ≥3 times upper limit of normal (ULN) (Grades 2-4, n=116), ALT resolved to Grades 0-1 in 94%. Among the 92 patients who were rechallenged with either KEYTRUDA (n=3) or axitinib (n=34) administered as a single agent or with both (n=55), recurrence of ALT ≥3 times ULN was observed in 1 patient receiving KEYTRUDA, 16 patients receiving axitinib, and 24 patients receiving both. All patients with a recurrence of ALT ≥3 ULN subsequently recovered from the event.

Immune-Mediated Endocrinopathies

Adrenal Insufficiency

KEYTRUDA can cause primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency. For Grade 2 or higher, initiate symptomatic treatment, including hormone replacement as clinically indicated. Withhold KEYTRUDA depending on severity. Adrenal insufficiency occurred in 0.8% (22/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 4 (

Hypophysitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated hypophysitis. Hypophysitis can present with acute symptoms associated with mass effect such as headache, photophobia, or visual field defects. Hypophysitis can cause hypopituitarism. Initiate hormone replacement as indicated. Withhold or permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA depending on severity. Hypophysitis occurred in 0.6% (17/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 4 (

Thyroid Disorders

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated thyroid disorders. Thyroiditis can present with or without endocrinopathy. Hypothyroidism can follow hyperthyroidism. Initiate hormone replacement for hypothyroidism or institute medical management of hyperthyroidism as clinically indicated. Withhold or permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA depending on severity. Thyroiditis occurred in 0.6% (16/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.3%). None discontinued, but KEYTRUDA was withheld in

Hyperthyroidism occurred in 3.4% (96/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 3 (0.1%) and Grade 2 (0.8%). It led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (DM), Which Can Present With Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Monitor patients for hyperglycemia or other signs and symptoms of diabetes. Initiate treatment with insulin as clinically indicated. Withhold KEYTRUDA depending on severity. Type 1 DM occurred in 0.2% (6/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA. It led to permanent discontinuation in

Immune-Mediated Nephritis With Renal Dysfunction

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated nephritis. Immune-mediated nephritis occurred in 0.3% (9/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 4 (

Immune-Mediated Dermatologic Adverse Reactions

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated rash or dermatitis. Exfoliative dermatitis, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome, drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms, and toxic epidermal necrolysis, has occurred with anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatments. Topical emollients and/or topical corticosteroids may be adequate to treat mild to moderate nonexfoliative rashes. Withhold or permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA depending on severity. Immune-mediated dermatologic adverse reactions occurred in 1.4% (38/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 3 (1%) and Grade 2 (0.1%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 40% (15/38) of patients. These reactions led to permanent discontinuation in 0.1% (2) and withholding of KEYTRUDA in 0.6% (16) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement; of these, 6% had recurrence. The reactions resolved in 79% of the 38 patients.

Other Immune-Mediated Adverse Reactions

The following clinically significant immune-mediated adverse reactions occurred at an incidence of Cardiac/Vascular: Myocarditis, pericarditis, vasculitis; Nervous System: Meningitis, encephalitis, myelitis and demyelination, myasthenic syndrome/myasthenia gravis (including exacerbation), Guillain-Barré syndrome, nerve paresis, autoimmune neuropathy; Ocular: Uveitis, iritis and other ocular inflammatory toxicities can occur. Some cases can be associated with retinal detachment. Various grades of visual impairment, including blindness, can occur. If uveitis occurs in combination with other immune-mediated adverse reactions, consider a Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada-like syndrome, as this may require treatment with systemic steroids to reduce the risk of permanent vision loss; Gastrointestinal: Pancreatitis, to include increases in serum amylase and lipase levels, gastritis, duodenitis; Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue: Myositis/polymyositis, rhabdomyolysis (and associated sequelae, including renal failure), arthritis (1.5%), polymyalgia rheumatica; Endocrine: Hypoparathyroidism; Hematologic/Immune: Hemolytic anemia, aplastic anemia, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, systemic inflammatory response syndrome, histiocytic necrotizing lymphadenitis (Kikuchi lymphadenitis), sarcoidosis, immune thrombocytopenic purpura, solid organ transplant rejection.

Infusion-Related Reactions

KEYTRUDA can cause severe or life-threatening infusion-related reactions, including hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis, which have been reported in 0.2% of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA. Monitor for signs and symptoms of infusion-related reactions. Interrupt or slow the rate of infusion for Grade 1 or Grade 2 reactions. For Grade 3 or Grade 4 reactions, stop infusion and permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA.

Complications of Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT)

Fatal and other serious complications can occur in patients who receive allogeneic HSCT before or after anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatment. Transplant-related complications include hyperacute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), acute and chronic GVHD, hepatic veno-occlusive disease after reduced intensity conditioning, and steroid-requiring febrile syndrome (without an identified infectious cause). These complications may occur despite intervening therapy between anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatment and allogeneic HSCT. Follow patients closely for evidence of these complications and intervene promptly. Consider the benefit vs risks of using anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatments prior to or after an allogeneic HSCT.

Increased Mortality in Patients With Multiple Myeloma

In trials in patients with multiple myeloma, the addition of KEYTRUDA to a thalidomide analogue plus dexamethasone resulted in increased mortality. Treatment of these patients with an anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatment in this combination is not recommended outside of controlled trials.

Embryofetal Toxicity

Based on its mechanism of action, KEYTRUDA can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Advise women of this potential risk. In females of reproductive potential, verify pregnancy status prior to initiating KEYTRUDA and advise them to use effective contraception during treatment and for 4 months after the last dose.

Adverse Reactions

In KEYNOTE-006, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 9% of 555 patients with advanced melanoma; adverse reactions leading to permanent discontinuation in more than one patient were colitis (1.4%), autoimmune hepatitis (0.7%), allergic reaction (0.4%), polyneuropathy (0.4%), and cardiac failure (0.4%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) with KEYTRUDA were fatigue (28%), diarrhea (26%), rash (24%), and nausea (21%).

In KEYNOTE-716, adverse reactions occurring in patients with stage IIB or IIC melanoma were similar to those occurring in 1011 patients with stage III melanoma from KEYNOTE-054 or the 2799 patients with melanoma or NSCLC treated with KEYTRUDA as a single agent.

In KEYNOTE-054, KEYTRUDA was permanently discontinued due to adverse reactions in 14% of 509 patients; the most common (≥1%) were pneumonitis (1.4%), colitis (1.2%), and diarrhea (1%). Serious adverse reactions occurred in 25% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA. The most common adverse reaction (≥20%) with KEYTRUDA was diarrhea (28%).

In KEYNOTE-189, when KEYTRUDA was administered with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy in metastatic nonsquamous NSCLC, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 20% of 405 patients. The most common adverse reactions resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA were pneumonitis (3%) and acute kidney injury (2%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) with KEYTRUDA were nausea (56%), fatigue (56%), constipation (35%), diarrhea (31%), decreased appetite (28%), rash (25%), vomiting (24%), cough (21%), dyspnea (21%), and pyrexia (20%).

In KEYNOTE-407, when KEYTRUDA was administered with carboplatin and either paclitaxel or paclitaxel protein-bound in metastatic squamous NSCLC, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 15% of 101 patients. The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported in at least 2% of patients were febrile neutropenia, pneumonia, and urinary tract infection. Adverse reactions observed in KEYNOTE-407 were similar to those observed in KEYNOTE-189 with the exception that increased incidences of alopecia (47% vs 36%) and peripheral neuropathy (31% vs 25%) were observed in the KEYTRUDA and chemotherapy arm compared to the placebo and chemotherapy arm in KEYNOTE-407.

In KEYNOTE-042, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 19% of 636 patients with advanced NSCLC; the most common were pneumonitis (3%), death due to unknown cause (1.6%), and pneumonia (1.4%). The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported in at least 2% of patients were pneumonia (7%), pneumonitis (3.9%), pulmonary embolism (2.4%), and pleural effusion (2.2%). The most common adverse reaction (≥20%) was fatigue (25%).

In KEYNOTE-010, KEYTRUDA monotherapy was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8% of 682 patients with metastatic NSCLC; the most common was pneumonitis (1.8%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were decreased appetite (25%), fatigue (25%), dyspnea (23%), and nausea (20%).

In KEYNOTE-048, KEYTRUDA monotherapy was discontinued due to adverse events in 12% of 300 patients with HNSCC; the most common adverse reactions leading to permanent discontinuation were sepsis (1.7%) and pneumonia (1.3%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were fatigue (33%), constipation (20%), and rash (20%).

In KEYNOTE-048, when KEYTRUDA was administered in combination with platinum (cisplatin or carboplatin) and FU chemotherapy, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 16% of 276 patients with HNSCC. The most common adverse reactions resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA were pneumonia (2.5%), pneumonitis (1.8%), and septic shock (1.4%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were nausea (51%), fatigue (49%), constipation (37%), vomiting (32%), mucosal inflammation (31%), diarrhea (29%), decreased appetite (29%), stomatitis (26%), and cough (22%).

In KEYNOTE-012, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 17% of 192 patients with HNSCC. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 45% of patients. The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported in at least 2% of patients were pneumonia, dyspnea, confusional state, vomiting, pleural effusion, and respiratory failure. The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were fatigue, decreased appetite, and dyspnea. Adverse reactions occurring in patients with HNSCC were generally similar to those occurring in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy, with the exception of increased incidences of facial edema and new or worsening hypothyroidism.

In KEYNOTE-204, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 14% of 148 patients with cHL. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 30% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA; those ≥1% were pneumonitis, pneumonia, pyrexia, myocarditis, acute kidney injury, febrile neutropenia, and sepsis. Three patients died from causes other than disease progression: 2 from complications after allogeneic HSCT and 1 from unknown cause. The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were upper respiratory tract infection (41%), musculoskeletal pain (32%), diarrhea (22%), and pyrexia, fatigue, rash, and cough (20% each).

In KEYNOTE-087, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 5% of 210 patients with cHL. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 16% of patients; those ≥1% were pneumonia, pneumonitis, pyrexia, dyspnea, GVHD, and herpes zoster. Two patients died from causes other than disease progression: 1 from GVHD after subsequent allogeneic HSCT and 1 from septic shock. The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were fatigue (26%), pyrexia (24%), cough (24%), musculoskeletal pain (21%), diarrhea (20%), and rash (20%).

In KEYNOTE-170, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8% of 53 patients with PMBCL. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 26% of patients and included arrhythmia (4%), cardiac tamponade (2%), myocardial infarction (2%), pericardial effusion (2%), and pericarditis (2%). Six (11%) patients died within 30 days of start of treatment. The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were musculoskeletal pain (30%), upper respiratory tract infection and pyrexia (28% each), cough (26%), fatigue (23%), and dyspnea (21%).

In KEYNOTE-052, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 11% of 370 patients with locally advanced or mUC. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 42% of patients; those ≥2% were urinary tract infection, hematuria, acute kidney injury, pneumonia, and urosepsis. The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were fatigue (38%), musculoskeletal pain (24%), decreased appetite (22%), constipation (21%), rash (21%), and diarrhea (20%).

In KEYNOTE-045, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8% of 266 patients with locally advanced or mUC. The most common adverse reaction resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA was pneumonitis (1.9%). Serious adverse reactions occurred in 39% of KEYTRUDA-treated patients; those ≥2% were urinary tract infection, pneumonia, anemia, and pneumonitis. The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) in patients who received KEYTRUDA were fatigue (38%), musculoskeletal pain (32%), pruritus (23%), decreased appetite (21%), nausea (21%), and rash (20%).

In KEYNOTE-057, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 11% of 148 patients with high-risk NMIBC. The most common adverse reaction resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA was pneumonitis (1.4%). Serious adverse reactions occurred in 28% of patients; those ≥2% were pneumonia (3%), cardiac ischemia (2%), colitis (2%), pulmonary embolism (2%), sepsis (2%), and urinary tract infection (2%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were fatigue (29%), diarrhea (24%), and rash (24%).

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with MSI-H or dMMR CRC were similar to those occurring in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy.

In KEYNOTE-811, when KEYTRUDA was administered in combination with trastuzumab, fluoropyrimidine- and platinum-containing chemotherapy, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 6% of 217 patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic HER2+ gastric or GEJ adenocarcinoma. The most common adverse reaction resulting in permanent discontinuation was pneumonitis (1.4%). In the KEYTRUDA arm versus placebo, there was a difference of ≥5% incidence between patients treated with KEYTRUDA versus standard of care for diarrhea (53% vs 44%) and nausea (49% vs 44%).

The most common adverse reactions (reported in ≥20%) in patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy were fatigue/asthenia, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, decreased appetite, rash, vomiting, cough, dyspnea, pyrexia, alopecia, peripheral neuropathy, mucosal inflammation, stomatitis, headache, weight loss, abdominal pain, arthralgia, myalgia, and insomnia.

In KEYNOTE-590, when KEYTRUDA was administered with cisplatin and fluorouracil to patients with metastatic or locally advanced esophageal or GEJ (tumors with epicenter 1 to 5 centimeters above the GEJ) carcinoma who were not candidates for surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 15% of 370 patients. The most common adverse reactions resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA (≥1%) were pneumonitis (1.6%), acute kidney injury (1.1%), and pneumonia (1.1%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) with KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy were nausea (67%), fatigue (57%), decreased appetite (44%), constipation (40%), diarrhea (36%), vomiting (34%), stomatitis (27%), and weight loss (24%).

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with esophageal cancer who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy were similar to those occurring in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy.

In KEYNOTE-826, when KEYTRUDA was administered in combination with paclitaxel and cisplatin or paclitaxel and carboplatin, with or without bevacizumab regardless of tumor PD-L1 expression (n=307), to patients with persistent, recurrent, or first-line metastatic cervical cancer who had not been treated with chemotherapy except when used concurrently as a radio-sensitizing agent, fatal adverse reactions occurred in 4.6% of patients, including 3 cases of hemorrhage, 2 cases each of sepsis and due to unknown causes, and 1 case each of acute myocardial infarction, autoimmune encephalitis, cardiac arrest, cerebrovascular accident, femur fraction with perioperative pulmonary embolus, intestinal perforation, and pelvic infection. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 50% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy with or without bevacizumab; those ≥3% were febrile neutropenia (6.8%), urinary tract infection (5.2%), anemia (4.6%), and acute kidney injury and sepsis (3.3% each).

KEYTRUDA was discontinued in 15% of patients due to adverse reactions. The most common adverse reaction resulting in permanent discontinuation (≥1%) was colitis (1%).

For patients treated with KEYTRUDA, chemotherapy, and bevacizumab (n=196), the most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were peripheral neuropathy (62%), alopecia (58%), anemia (55%), fatigue/asthenia (53%), nausea and neutropenia (41% each), diarrhea (39%), hypertension and thrombocytopenia (35% each), constipation and arthralgia (31% each), vomiting (30%), urinary tract infection (27%), rash (26%), leukopenia (24%), hypothyroidism (22%), and decreased appetite (21%).

For patients treated with KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy with or without bevacizumab, the most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were peripheral neuropathy (58%), alopecia (56%), fatigue (47%), nausea (40%), diarrhea (36%), constipation (28%), arthralgia (27%), vomiting (26%), hypertension and urinary tract infection (24% each), and rash (22%).

In KEYNOTE-158, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8% of 98 patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 39% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA; the most frequent included anemia (7%), fistula, hemorrhage, and infections [except urinary tract infections] (4.1% each). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were fatigue (43%), musculoskeletal pain (27%), diarrhea (23%), pain and abdominal pain (22% each), and decreased appetite (21%).

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with HCC were generally similar to those in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy, with the exception of increased incidences of ascites (8% Grades 3-4) and immune-mediated hepatitis (2.9%). Laboratory abnormalities (Grades 3-4) that occurred at a higher incidence were elevated AST (20%), ALT (9%), and hyperbilirubinemia (10%).

Among the 50 patients with MCC enrolled in study KEYNOTE-017, adverse reactions occurring in patients with MCC were generally similar to those occurring in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy. Laboratory abnormalities (Grades 3-4) that occurred at a higher incidence were elevated AST (11%) and hyperglycemia (19%).

In KEYNOTE-426, when KEYTRUDA was administered in combination with axitinib, fatal adverse reactions occurred in 3.3% of 429 patients. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 40% of patients, the most frequent (≥1%) were hepatotoxicity (7%), diarrhea (4.2%), acute kidney injury (2.3%), dehydration (1%), and pneumonitis (1%). Permanent discontinuation due to an adverse reaction occurred in 31% of patients; KEYTRUDA only (13%), axitinib only (13%), and the combination (8%); the most common were hepatotoxicity (13%), diarrhea/colitis (1.9%), acute kidney injury (1.6%), and cerebrovascular accident (1.2%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were diarrhea (56%), fatigue/asthenia (52%), hypertension (48%), hepatotoxicity (39%), hypothyroidism (35%), decreased appetite (30%), palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (28%), nausea (28%), stomatitis/mucosal inflammation (27%), dysphonia (25%), rash (25%), cough (21%), and constipation (21%).

In KEYNOTE-564, when KEYTRUDA was administered as a single agent for the adjuvant treatment of renal cell carcinoma, serious adverse reactions occurred in 20% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA; the serious adverse reactions (≥1%) were acute kidney injury, adrenal insufficiency, pneumonia, colitis, and diabetic ketoacidosis (1% each). Fatal adverse reactions occurred in 0.2% including 1 case of pneumonia. Discontinuation of KEYTRUDA due to adverse reactions occurred in 21% of 488 patients; the most common (≥1%) were increased ALT (1.6%), colitis (1%), and adrenal insufficiency (1%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were musculoskeletal pain (41%), fatigue (40%), rash (30%), diarrhea (27%), pruritus (23%), and hypothyroidism (21%).

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with TMB-H cancer were similar to those occurring in patients with other solid tumors who received KEYTRUDA as a single agent.

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with recurrent or metastatic cSCC or locally advanced cSCC were similar to those occurring in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy.

In KEYNOTE-522, when KEYTRUDA was administered with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (carboplatin and paclitaxel followed by doxorubicin or epirubicin and cyclophosphamide) followed by surgery and continued adjuvant treatment with KEYTRUDA as a single agent (n=778) to patients with newly diagnosed, previously untreated, high-risk early-stage TNBC, fatal adverse reactions occurred in 0.9% of patients, including 1 each of adrenal crisis, autoimmune encephalitis, hepatitis, pneumonia, pneumonitis, pulmonary embolism, and sepsis in association with multiple organ dysfunction syndrome and myocardial infarction. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 44% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA; those ≥2% were febrile neutropenia (15%), pyrexia (3.7%), anemia (2.6%), and neutropenia (2.2%). KEYTRUDA was discontinued in 20% of patients due to adverse reactions. The most common reactions (≥1%) resulting in permanent discontinuation were increased ALT (2.7%), increased AST (1.5%), and rash (1%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) in patients receiving KEYTRUDA were fatigue (70%), nausea (67%), alopecia (61%), rash (52%), constipation (42%), diarrhea and peripheral neuropathy (41% each), stomatitis (34%), vomiting (31%), headache (30%), arthralgia (29%), pyrexia (28%), cough (26%), abdominal pain (24%), decreased appetite (23%), insomnia (21%), and myalgia (20%).

In KEYNOTE-355, when KEYTRUDA and chemotherapy (paclitaxel, paclitaxel protein-bound, or gemcitabine and carboplatin) were administered to patients with locally recurrent unresectable or metastatic TNBC who had not been previously treated with chemotherapy in the metastatic setting (n=596), fatal adverse reactions occurred in 2.5% of patients, including cardio-respiratory arrest (0.7%) and septic shock (0.3%). Serious adverse reactions occurred in 30% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy; the serious reactions in ≥2% were pneumonia (2.9%), anemia (2.2%), and thrombocytopenia (2%). KEYTRUDA was discontinued in 11% of patients due to adverse reactions. The most common reactions resulting in permanent discontinuation (≥1%) were increased ALT (2.2%), increased AST (1.5%), and pneumonitis (1.2%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) in patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy were fatigue (48%), nausea (44%), alopecia (34%), diarrhea and constipation (28% each), vomiting and rash (26% each), cough (23%), decreased appetite (21%), and headache (20%).

Lactation

Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in breastfed children, advise women not to breastfeed during treatment and for 4 months after the final dose.

Pediatric Use

In KEYNOTE-051, 161 pediatric patients (62 pediatric patients aged 6 months to younger than 12 years and 99 pediatric patients aged 12 years to 17 years) were administered KEYTRUDA 2 mg/kg every 3 weeks. The median duration of exposure was 2.1 months (range: 1 day to 24 months).

Adverse reactions that occurred at a ≥10% higher rate in pediatric patients when compared to adults were pyrexia (33%), vomiting (30%), leukopenia (30%), upper respiratory tract infection (29%), neutropenia (26%), headache (25%), and Grade 3 anemia (17%).

About the Merck Access Program for KEYTRUDA

At Merck, we are committed to supporting accessibility to our cancer medicines. Merck provides multiple programs to help appropriate patients who are prescribed KEYTRUDA have access to our anti-PD-1 therapy. The Merck Access Program provides reimbursement support for patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including information to help with out-of-pocket costs and co-pay assistance for eligible patients. More information is available by calling 855-257-3932 or visiting www.merckaccessprogram-keytruda.com .

About Merck's Patient Support Program for KEYTRUDA

Merck is committed to helping provide patients and their caregivers support throughout their treatment with KEYTRUDA. The KEY+YOU Patient Support Program provides a range of resources and support. For further information and to sign up, eligible patients may call 85-KEYTRUDA (855-398-7832) or visit www.keytruda.com .

Merck's Focus on Cancer

Our goal is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. At Merck, the potential to bring new hope to people with cancer drives our purpose and supporting accessibility to our cancer medicines is our commitment. As part of our focus on cancer, Merck is committed to exploring the potential of immuno-oncology with one of the largest development programs in the industry across more than 30 tumor types. We also continue to strengthen our portfolio through strategic acquisitions and are prioritizing the development of several promising oncology candidates with the potential to improve the treatment of advanced cancers. For more information about our oncology clinical trials, visit www.merck.com/clinicaltrials .

About Merck

For over 130 years, Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives. We demonstrate our commitment to patients and population health by increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals – including cancer, infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola, and emerging animal diseases – as we aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter , Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and LinkedIn .

Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA

This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the "company") includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company's management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. There can be no guarantees with respect to pipeline products that the products will receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that they will prove to be commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of the global outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19); the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company's ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company's patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in the company's 2020 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC's Internet site ( www.sec.gov ).

Please see Prescribing Information for KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) at http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/k/keytruda/keytruda_pi.pdf and Medication Guide for KEYTRUDA at http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/k/keytruda/keytruda_mg.pdf .

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U.S. FDA Approves Pfizer's CIBINQO® for Adults with Moderate-to-Severe Atopic Dermatitis

CIBINQO is a once-daily oral treatment with proven efficacy to manage symptoms for adults who have not yet found relief with current options

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) announced today that the United States (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved CIBINQO ® (abrocitinib), an oral, once-daily, Janus kinase 1 (JAK1) inhibitor, for the treatment of adults living with refractory, moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (AD) whose disease is not adequately controlled with other systemic drug products, including biologics, or when use of those therapies is inadvisable.

CIBINQO is approved at the recommended doses of 100 mg and 200 mg, with the 200 mg dose being recommended for patients who are not responding to the 100 mg dose. Additionally, a 50 mg dose was approved to treat moderate-to-severe AD specifically in patients with moderate renal impairment (kidney failure), certain patients receiving treatment with inhibitors of cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2C19, or patients who are known or suspected to be poor metabolizers of CYP2C19. For patients with moderate renal impairment who are not responding to 50 mg once daily, 100 mg once daily may also be prescribed.

"The reality for patients living with chronic inflammatory skin disease such as moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis is that many experience debilitating symptoms that are not managed by current treatment options. Today's approval of CIBINQO will provide an important new oral option that could help those who have yet to find relief," said Jonathan Silverberg, MD, PhD, MPH, Department of Dermatology, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. "In multiple large-scale clinical trials, CIBINQO demonstrated strong efficacy at clearing skin, improving itch, and managing the extent and severity of eczema, offering a benefit-risk profile that supports the use of this treatment in the FDA-approved patient population."

The FDA approval was based on results of five clinical trials from a large-scale clinical trial program of more than 1,600 patients. The safety and efficacy of CIBINQO was evaluated in three randomized, placebo-controlled, Phase 3 trials. Additionally, safety was evaluated through a randomized, placebo-controlled, dose-ranging trial and an ongoing long-term open-label extension trial. Across the trials, CIBINQO demonstrated a consistent safety profile and profound improvements in skin clearance, extent of disease, and severity, as well as rapid improvement in itch after two weeks, for some people living with AD versus placebo. In addition, a higher proportion of subjects treated with CIBINQO in two monotherapy trials achieved improvement in itching at week 12 compared to placebo.

"The FDA's approval offers hope to the millions of patients across the U.S. who are suffering daily with an immuno-inflammatory condition that can cause intense and persistent itching, pain, discomfort, and distress if left uncontrolled," said Mike Gladstone, Global President of Pfizer Inflammation & Immunology. "CIBINQO, an efficacious once-daily pill, is a medical breakthrough made possible by Pfizer researchers and the people living with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis who participated in our clinical trials."

"Atopic dermatitis is so much more than just a rash, and it goes beyond the surface of the skin. It's a chronic condition that can both significantly disrupt patients' daily lives and negatively impact their emotional well-being," said Julie Block, President and CEO, National Eczema Association. "We appreciate Pfizer's commitment to this resilient patient community and eagerly await the positive impact CIBINQO could have on the treatment landscape for moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis."

The most common adverse events reported in ≥5% of patients with CIBINQO included nasopharyngitis (12.4% with CIBINQO 100 mg, 8.7% with CIBINQO 200 mg, and 7.9%, with placebo), nausea (6%, 14.5%, and 2.1%, respectively), and headache (6%, 7.8%, and 3.5%, respectively).

The full prescribing information for CIBINQO can be found here . CIBINQO will be made available in the coming weeks.

Additional Details on the CIBINQO Clinical Trial Program

Five clinical trials in the CIBINQO JAK1 Atopic Dermatitis Efficacy and Safety (JADE) global development program were included in the New Drug Application (NDA) to support the FDA approval.

The safety and efficacy of CIBINQO was evaluated in three Phase 3, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials. The trials evaluated measures of improvements in skin clearance, itch, disease extent, and severity, including the Investigator Global Assessment (IGA), Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI), and Peak Pruritus Numerical Ratings Scale (PP-NRS). In each of the trials, over 40% of patients had prior exposure to a systemic therapy:

  • JADE MONO-1 and JADE MONO-2: A pair of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of two doses (100 mg and 200 mg once daily) of CIBINQO monotherapy in 778 patients 12 years of age and older with moderate-to-severe AD. The trials assessed the co-primary endpoints of IGA and EASI-75 responses at Week 12.
  • JADE COMPARE: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of two doses (100 mg and 200 mg once daily) of CIBINQO in 837 adult patients with moderate-to-severe AD on background topical medicated therapy. The trial also included an active control arm with dupilumab, a biologic treatment administered by subcutaneous injection, compared with placebo. The trial assessed the co-primary endpoints of IGA and EASI-75 responses at Week 12.

Select findings for CIBINQO 100 mg, 200 mg, and placebo follow (*p

  • JADE MONO-1:
    • IGA Response Rate (Week 12): 24%*, 44%**, and 8%, respectively
    • EASI-75 Response Rate (Week 12): 40%**, 62%**, and 12%, respectively
  • JADE MONO-2
    • IGA Response Rate (Week 12): 28%**, 38%**, and 9%, respectively
    • EASI-75 Response Rate (Week 12): 44%**, 61%**, and 10%, respectively
  • JADE COMPARE
    • IGA Response Rate (Week 12): 36%**, 47%**, and 14%, respectively
    • EASI-75 Response Rate (Week 12): 58%**, 68%**, and 27%, respectively

Safety was additionally evaluated through a randomized dose-ranging trial and a long-term, open-label, extension trial (JADE EXTEND).

U.S. IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

WARNING: SERIOUS INFECTIONS, MORTALITY, MALIGNANCY, MAJOR ADVERSE CARDIOVASCULAR EVENTS, AND THROMBOSIS

Serious Infections

Patients treated with CIBINQO may be at increased risk for developing serious infections that may lead to hospitalization or death. The most frequent serious infections reported with CIBINQO were herpes simplex, herpes zoster, and pneumonia.

If a serious or opportunistic infection develops, discontinue CIBINQO and control the infection.

Reported infections from Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors used to treat inflammatory conditions:

  • Active tuberculosis, which may present with pulmonary or extrapulmonary disease. Test for latent TB before and during therapy; treat latent TB prior to use. Monitor all patients for active TB during treatment, even patients with initial negative, latent TB test.
  • Invasive fungal infections, including cryptococcosis and pneumocystosis. Patients with invasive fungal infections may present with disseminated, rather than localized, disease.
  • Bacterial, viral (including herpes zoster), and other infections due to opportunistic pathogens.

Avoid use of CIBINQO in patients with an active, serious infection, including localized infections. The risks and benefits of treatment with CIBINQO should be carefully considered prior to initiating therapy in patients with chronic or recurrent infections or those who have resided or traveled in areas of endemic tuberculosis or endemic mycoses.

Patients should be closely monitored for the development of signs and symptoms of infection during and after treatment with CIBINQO, including the possible development of tuberculosis in patients who tested negative for latent tuberculosis infection prior to initiating therapy.

Consider yearly screening for patients in highly endemic areas for TB. CIBINQO is not recommended for use in patients with active TB. For patients with a new diagnosis of latent TB or prior untreated latent TB, or for patients with a negative test for latent TB but who are at high risk for TB infection, start preventive therapy for latent TB prior to initiation of CIBINQO.

Viral reactivation, including herpes virus reactivation (eg, herpes zoster, herpes simplex), was reported in clinical studies with CIBINQO. If a patient develops herpes zoster, consider interrupting CIBINQO until the episode resolves. Hepatitis B virus reactivation has been reported in patients receiving JAK inhibitors. Perform viral hepatitis screening and monitoring for reactivation in accordance with clinical guidelines before starting therapy and during therapy with CIBINQO. CIBINQO is not recommended for use in patients with active hepatitis B or hepatitis C.

Mortality

In a large, randomized postmarketing safety study in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients 50 years of age and older with at least one cardiovascular risk factor comparing another JAK inhibitor to TNF blocker treatment, a higher rate of all-cause mortality (including sudden cardiovascular death) was observed with the JAK inhibitor. CIBINQO is not approved for use in RA patients.

Malignancies

Malignancies, including non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC), were reported in patients treated with CIBINQO. Lymphoma and other malignancies have been observed in patients receiving JAK inhibitors used to treat inflammatory conditions. Perform periodic skin examination for patients who are at increased risk for skin cancer. Exposure to sunlight and UV light should be limited by wearing protective clothing and using broad-spectrum sunscreen.

In a large, randomized postmarketing safety study of another JAK inhibitor in RA patients, a higher rate of malignancies (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer [NMSC]) was observed in patients treated with the JAK inhibitor compared to those treated with TNF blockers. CIBINQO is not approved for use in RA patients. A higher rate of lymphomas was observed in patients treated with the JAK inhibitor compared to those treated with TNF blockers. A higher rate of lung cancers was observed in current or past smokers treated with the JAK inhibitor compared to those treated with TNF blockers. Patients who are current or past smokers are at additional increased risk.

Consider the benefits and risks for the individual patient prior to initiating or continuing therapy with CIBINQO, particularly in patients with a known malignancy (other than a successfully treated NMSC), patients who develop a malignancy when on treatment, and patients who are current or past smokers.

Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events

Major adverse cardiovascular events were reported in patients treated with CIBINQO. In RA patients 50 years of age and older with at least one cardiovascular risk factor treated with another JAK inhibitor, a higher rate of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) (defined as cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, and stroke), was observed when compared with TNF blockers. CIBINQO is not approved for use in RA patients. Patients who are current or past smokers are at additional increased risk. Discontinue CIBINQO in patients that have experienced a myocardial infarction or stroke.

Consider the benefits and risks for the individual patient prior to initiating or continuing therapy with CIBINQO, particularly in patients who are current or past smokers and patients with other cardiovascular risk factors. Patients should be informed about the symptoms of serious cardiovascular events and the steps to take if they occur.

Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) have been reported in patients treated with CIBINQO. Thrombosis, including PE, DVT, and arterial thrombosis have been reported in patients receiving JAK inhibitors used to treat inflammatory conditions. Many of these adverse reactions were serious and some resulted in death. In RA patients 50 years of age and older with at least one cardiovascular risk factor treated with another JAK inhibitor, a higher rate of overall thrombosis, DVT, and PE were observed when compared with TNF blockers. CIBINQO is not approved for use in RA patients.

Avoid CIBINQO in patients that may be at increased risk of thrombosis. If symptoms of thrombosis occur, discontinue CIBINQO and treat patients appropriately.

Contraindication

CIBINQO is contraindicated in patients taking antiplatelet therapies, except for low-dose aspirin (≤81 mg daily), during the first 3 months of treatment.

Laboratory Abnormalities

Hematologic Abnormalities : Treatment with CIBINQO was associated with an increased incidence of thrombocytopenia and lymphopenia. Prior to CIBINQO initiation, perform a complete blood count (CBC). CBC evaluations are recommended at 4 weeks after initiation and 4 weeks after dose increase of CIBINQO. Discontinuation of CIBINQO therapy is required for certain laboratory abnormalities.

Lipid Elevations: Dose-dependent increase in blood lipid parameters were reported in patients treated with CIBINQO. Lipid parameters should be assessed approximately 4 weeks following initiation of CIBINQO therapy, and thereafter patients should be managed according to clinical guidelines for hyperlipidemia. The effect of these lipid parameter elevations on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has not been determined.

Immunizations

Prior to initiating CIBINQO, complete all age-appropriate vaccinations as recommended by current immunization guidelines, including prophylactic herpes zoster vaccinations. Avoid vaccination with live vaccines immediately prior to, during, and immediately after CIBINQO therapy.

Renal Impairment

Avoid use in patients with severe renal impairment or end stage renal disease, including those on renal replacement therapy.

Hepatic Impairment

Avoid use in patients with severe hepatic impairment.

Adverse Reactions

Most common adverse reactions (≥1%) in subjects receiving 100 mg and 200 mg include: nasopharyngitis, nausea, headache, herpes simplex, increased blood creatinine phosphokinase, dizziness, urinary tract infection, fatigue, acne, vomiting, oropharyngeal pain, influenza, gastroenteritis.

Most common adverse reactions (≥1%) in subjects receiving either 100 mg or 200 mg also include: impetigo, hypertension, contact dermatitis, upper abdominal pain, abdominal discomfort, herpes zoster, and thrombocytopenia.

Use in Pregnancy

Available data from pregnancies reported in clinical trials with CIBINQO are not sufficient to establish a drug-associated risk for major birth defects, miscarriage, or other adverse maternal or fetal outcomes. Advise females of reproductive potential that CIBINQO may impair fertility.

There will be a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to CIBINQO during pregnancy. Pregnant women exposed to CIBINQO and health care providers are encouraged to call 1-877-311-3770.

Lactation

Advise women not to breastfeed during treatment with CIBINQO and for one day after the last dose.

Indication

CIBINQO is indicated for the treatment of adults with refractory, moderate to severe atopic dermatitis whose disease is not adequately controlled with other systemic drug products, including biologics, or when use of those therapies is inadvisable.

Limitations of Use: CIBINQO is not recommended for use in combination with other JAK inhibitors, biologic immunomodulators, or with other immunosuppressants.

About CIBINQO ® (abrocitinib)

CIBINQO is an oral small molecule that selectively inhibits Janus kinase (JAK) 1. Inhibition of JAK1 is thought to modulate multiple cytokines involved in pathophysiology of AD, including interleukin IL-4, IL-13, IL-31, IL-22, and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP).

In addition to receiving regulatory approval in the U.S., CIBINQO has received marketing authorization in the European Union, Great Britain, Japan, Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Norway, Iceland, and Singapore.

About Atopic Dermatitis

AD is a chronic skin disease characterized by inflammation of the skin and skin barrier defects. i,ii Most people know AD is a skin condition. But many don't realize it can be caused in part by an abnormal immune response beneath the skin. This dysregulated immune response is thought to contribute to inflammation within the skin and the signs of AD on the surface. Lesions of AD are characterized by erythema (red/pink or discolored skin patches, depending on normal skin color), itching, lichenification (thick/leathery skin), induration (hardening)/papulation (formulation of papules), and oozing/crusting. i,ii

AD is one of the most common inflammatory skin diseases, affecting approximately 5-10% of adults in the U.S. iii,iv Approximately 1 in 3 adults with AD have moderate-to-severe disease. v,vi

About Pfizer Inflammation & Immunology

At Pfizer Inflammation & Immunology, we strive to deliver breakthroughs that enable freedom from day-to-day suffering for people living with autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases, which can be debilitating, disfiguring and distressing, dramatically affecting what they can do. With a focus on immuno-inflammatory conditions in Rheumatology, Gastroenterology and Medical Dermatology, our current portfolio of approved medicines and investigational molecules spans multiple action and delivery mechanisms, from topicals to small molecules, biologics and biosimilars. The root cause of many immunological diseases is immuno-inflammation, which requires specifically designed agents. Our differentiated R&D approach resulted in one of the broadest pipelines in the industry, where we purposefully match molecules to diseases where we believe they can make the biggest difference. Building on our decades-long commitment and pioneering science, we continue to advance the standard of care for patients living with immuno-inflammatory diseases and are working hand-in-hand with patients, caregivers and the broader healthcare community on healthcare solutions for the many challenges of managing chronic inflammatory diseases, allowing patients to live their best lives.

Pfizer Inc.: Breakthroughs that Change Patients' Lives

At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety, and value in the discovery, development, and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments, and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments, and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 170 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. We routinely post information that may be important to investors on our website at www.pfizer.com . In addition, to learn more, please visit us on www.pfizer.com and follow us on Twitter at @Pfizer and @Pfizer_News , LinkedIn , YouTube and like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Pfizer .

DISCLOSURE NOTICE: The information contained in this release is as of January 14, 2022. Pfizer assumes no obligation to update forward-looking statements contained in this release as the result of new information or future events or developments.

This release contains forward-looking information about CIBINQO (abrocitinib), including its potential benefits, an approval in the U.S. and anticipated product availability, that involves substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Risks and uncertainties include, among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, including the ability to meet anticipated clinical endpoints, commencement and/or completion dates for our clinical trials, regulatory submission dates, regulatory approval dates and/or launch dates, as well as the possibility of unfavorable new clinical data and further analyses of existing clinical data; the risk that clinical trial data are subject to differing interpretations and assessments by regulatory authorities; whether regulatory authorities will be satisfied with the design of and results from our clinical studies; whether and when drug applications may be filed in any other jurisdictions for any potential indication for CIBINQO; whether and when any such other applications that may be pending or filed for CIBINQO may be approved by regulatory authorities, which will depend on myriad factors, including making a determination as to whether the product's benefits outweigh its known risks and determination of the product's efficacy and, if approved, whether CIBINQO will be commercially successful; decisions by regulatory authorities impacting labeling, manufacturing processes, safety and/or other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of CIBINQO; uncertainties regarding the commercial or other impact of the results of Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor studies and data and actions by regulatory authorities based on analysis of such studies and data, which will depend, in part, on benefit-risk assessments and labeling determinations; uncertainties regarding the impact of COVID-19 on our business, operations, and financial results; and competitive developments.

A further description of risks and uncertainties can be found in Pfizer's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 and in its subsequent reports on Form 10-Q, including in the sections thereof captioned "Risk Factors" and "Forward-Looking Information and Factors That May Affect Future Results", as well as in its subsequent reports on Form 8-K, all of which are filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and available at www.sec.gov and www.pfizer.com .

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Positive Top-Line Results of Pfizer's Phase 3 Study Exploring Coadministration of PREVNAR 20 With Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in Older Adults Released

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) today announced positive top-line results from a Phase 3 study (B74710126) describing the safety and immunogenicity of PREVNAR 20™ (Pneumococcal 20-valent Conjugate Vaccine) in 570 adults in the United States 65 years of age or older when administered at the same time as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine or when each vaccine was given with placebo.

Responses elicited by PREVNAR 20 for all 20 serotypes were similar whether given with a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine (n=190) or with placebo (n=191). Responses to a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine were also similar when given with PREVNAR 20 or given with placebo (n=189). The safety profile of co-administering PREVNAR 20 with a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine generally reflected that observed with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine booster dose.

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Jamieson Wellness Celebrates a Century of Improving the World's Health and Wellness

Company kicks off the Jamieson brand's 100 th year with commitments for a sustainable future

Jamieson Wellness Inc. ("Jamieson Wellness" or the "Company") (TSX:JWEL) is celebrating the 100 th anniversary of its flagship brand, Jamieson Vitamins, with long-term plans for the creation of a sustainable future.

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Top Canadian Pharma Stocks

Click here to read the previous top Canadian pharma stocks article.

The Canadian pharmaceutical industry has positioned itself firmly on the global map thanks to advances in biotechnology and investments in medical research and development.

The life science sector is one of Canada’s key industries, and as a sub-sector the pharmaceutical industry represents 41 percent of Canada’s life science gross domestic product.

“Canada’s commercially oriented research network takes innovation from lab to market; joint investment opportunities in research allow for R&D result optimization; and the responsive and efficient regulatory environment facilitates business operations,” according to Invest in Canada.

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Merck's KEYTRUDA® Showed Statistically Significant Improvement in Disease-Free Survival Versus Placebo as Adjuvant Treatment for Patients With Stage IB-IIIA Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Regardless of PD-L1 Expression

First Positive Study for KEYTRUDA in Adjuvant Stage IB-IIIA NSCLC

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and the European Thoracic Oncology Platform (ETOP) today announced that the Phase 3 KEYNOTE-091 trial, also known as EORTC-1416-LCGETOP-8-15 PEARLS, investigating KEYTRUDA, Merck's anti-PD-1 therapy, met one of its dual primary endpoints of disease-free survival (DFS) for the adjuvant treatment of patients with stage IB-IIIA non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) following surgical resection regardless of PD-L1 expression. Based on an interim analysis review conducted by an independent Data Monitoring Committee, adjuvant treatment with KEYTRUDA resulted in a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in DFS compared with placebo in the all-comer population of patients with stage IB-IIIA NSCLC.

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Pfizer Enters into Agreement with Acuitas Therapeutics for Lipid Nanoparticle Delivery System for Use in mRNA Vaccines and Therapeutics

Expands Pfizer's access to lipid nanoparticle (LNP) formulation technology, offering a strong strategic fit with Pfizer's mRNA strategy

Pfizer gains option to license Acuitas' LNP technology for up to 10 targets for vaccine or therapeutic development

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