Pharmaceutical

Merck known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration accepted for priority review a Biologics License Application for V114, Merck’s investigational 15-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, for the prevention of invasive pneumococcal disease in adults 18 years of age and older. The FDA set a Prescription Drug User Fee Act or target action date, of July 18, ...

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted for priority review a Biologics License Application (BLA) for V114, Merck's investigational 15-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, for the prevention of invasive pneumococcal disease in adults 18 years of age and older. The FDA set a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), or target action date, of July 18, 2021. The European Medicines Agency is also reviewing an application for licensure of V114 in adults.

"Invasive pneumococcal disease in adults is on the rise in many countries, driven by highly-invasive serotypes including serotype 3, which is included in the currently licensed pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, as well as serotypes not included, such as serotypes 22F and 33F," said Dr. Roy Baynes, senior vice president and head of global clinical development, chief medical officer, Merck Research Laboratories. "Building on our nearly 40 years of experience with PNEUMOVAX ® 23, Pneumococcal Vaccine Polyvalent, we have developed V114 as another potentially important option to help protect more adults from invasive pneumococcal disease, especially those who are at increased risk. We look forward to working with the FDA during the review of this application."

The BLA and priority review designation are supported by results from Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical studies in a variety of adult populations, including healthy adults and those at increased risk, such as adults with chronic medical conditions, adults with HIV, and those 65 years of age and older. Additional studies in the BLA support the potential use of V114 in various real-world clinical settings, including in co-administration with the quadrivalent influenza vaccine and as part of a sequential administration with PNEUMOVAX 23, and demonstrate equivalent performance among consecutive lots of V114. The FDA grants priority review to medicines and vaccines that, if approved, would provide a significant improvement in the safety or effectiveness of the treatment or prevention of a serious condition.

About V114

V114 is Merck's investigational 15-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine candidate for the prevention of invasive pneumococcal disease in adults. V114 consists of pneumococcal polysaccharides from 15 serotypes conjugated to a CRM197 carrier protein and includes serotypes 22F and 33F, which are commonly associated with invasive pneumococcal disease in older adults worldwide and are not contained in the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine currently licensed for use in adults. Merck is also developing V114 for use in children. An overview of the late-stage development program for V114 is available here .

V114 previously received Breakthrough Therapy Designation from the FDA for the prevention of invasive pneumococcal disease in pediatric patients 6 weeks to 18 years of age and adults 18 years of age and older.

Indication for PNEUMOVAX 23 (Pneumococcal Vaccine Polyvalent)

PNEUMOVAX 23 is a vaccine indicated for active immunization for the prevention of pneumococcal disease caused by the 23 serotypes contained in the vaccine (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6B, 7F, 8, 9N, 9V, 10A, 11A, 12F, 14, 15B, 17F, 18C, 19F, 19A, 20, 22F, 23F and 33F).

PNEUMOVAX 23 is approved for use in persons 50 years of age or older and persons aged ≥2 years who are at increased risk for pneumococcal disease.

PNEUMOVAX 23 will not prevent disease caused by capsular types of pneumococcus other than those contained in the vaccine.

Select Safety Information for PNEUMOVAX 23

Do not administer PNEUMOVAX 23 to individuals with a history of a hypersensitivity reaction to any component of the vaccine.

Defer vaccination with PNEUMOVAX 23 in persons with moderate or severe acute illness.

Use caution and appropriate care in administering PNEUMOVAX 23 to individuals with severely compromised cardiovascular and/or pulmonary function in whom a systemic reaction would pose a significant risk.

Available human data from clinical trials of PNEUMOVAX 23 in pregnancy have not established the presence or absence of a vaccine-associated risk.

Since elderly individuals may not tolerate medical interventions as well as younger individuals, a higher frequency and/or a greater severity of reactions in some older individuals cannot be ruled out.

Persons who are immunocompromised, including persons receiving immunosuppressive therapy, may have a diminished immune response to PNEUMOVAX 23.

PNEUMOVAX 23 may not be effective in preventing pneumococcal meningitis in patients who have chronic cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage resulting from congenital lesions, skull fractures or neurosurgical procedures.

The most common adverse reactions, reported in >10% of subjects vaccinated with PNEUMOVAX 23 for the first time in a clinical trial, were: injection-site pain/soreness/tenderness, injection-site swelling/induration, headache, injection-site erythema, asthenia and fatigue, and myalgia.

For subjects aged 65 years or older in a clinical study, systemic adverse reactions which were determined by the investigator to be vaccine-related were higher following revaccination than following initial vaccination.

Vaccination with PNEUMOVAX 23 may not offer 100% protection from pneumococcal infection.

Merck's Commitment to Infectious Diseases

For more than 100 years, Merck has contributed to the discovery and development of novel medicines and vaccines to combat infectious diseases. In addition to a combined portfolio of vaccines and antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal medicines, Merck has multiple programs that span discovery through late-stage development. To learn more about Merck's infectious diseases pipeline, visit www.merck.com .

About Merck

For more than 125 years, Merck, known as MSD outside of 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 2019 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 PNEUMOVAX 23
at http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/p/pneumovax_23/pneumovax_pi.pdf
and Patient Information for PNEUMOVAX 23
at http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/p/pneumovax_23/pneumovax_ppi.pdf .

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Patrick Ryan
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(908) 740-2107

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Adaptimmune Announces Appointment of Cintia Piccina as Chief Commercial Officer

Adaptimmune Therapeutics plc (Nasdaq:ADAP), a leader in T-cell therapy to treat cancer, today announces the appointment of Cintia Piccina as Chief Commercial Officer effective January 31, 2022.

"I am delighted to welcome Cintia to our leadership team. She brings extensive commercial experience, including in cell and gene therapy, that will be key as we prepare to submit our first BLA for afami-cel this year, and build our commercial capabilities to support the launch of this initial product and future next-gen cell therapies within our MAGE-A4 franchise. Her fresh perspective and leadership abilities will support our continued growth in our mission to design and develop cell therapies for people with cancer," said Adrian Rawcliffe, Adaptimmune's Chief Executive Officer.

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About Merck

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  • First participants enrolled in clinical trial received Omicron-based vaccine candidate as a two-dose primary series and as a booster dose

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) today announced the initiation of a clinical study to evaluate the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of an Omicron-based vaccine candidate in healthy adults 18 through 55 years of age. The study will have three cohorts examining different regimens of the current Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or an Omicron-based vaccine. The study will draw upon some participants from the companies' Phase 3 COVID-19 booster study and is part of their ongoing efforts to address Omicron and determine the potential need for variant-based vaccines.

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Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a Complete Response Letter (CRL) regarding Merck's New Drug Application (NDA) for gefapixant, the investigational, non-narcotic, orally administered selective P2X3 receptor antagonist, under development for the treatment of refractory chronic cough (RCC) or unexplained chronic cough (UCC) in adults. In March 2021, Merck announced that the FDA accepted the company's NDA for gefapixant. In the CRL, the FDA requested additional information related to measurement of efficacy. The CRL was not related to the safety of gefapixant. Merck is reviewing the letter and will meet with the agency to discuss next steps.

"We remain committed to advancing gefapixant for patients with refractory or unexplained chronic cough and will work with the FDA to address the agency's feedback," said Dr. Roy Baynes, senior vice president and head of global clinical development, chief medical officer, Merck Research Laboratories. "We believe there is a significant unmet need to help patients manage their chronic cough, as there are no available treatment options indicated in the U.S. specifically for this condition."

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Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and OPKO Health, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPK) announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Complete Response Letter (CRL) for the Biologics License Application (BLA) for somatrogon. Somatrogon is an investigational once-weekly long-acting recombinant human growth hormone for the treatment of growth hormone deficiency (GHD) in pediatric patients. Pfizer is evaluating the FDA's comments and will work with the agency to determine an appropriate path forward.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220121005474/en/

"We remain confident in the potential treatment benefits that somatrogon has to offer patients around the world," said Brenda Cooperstone, MD, Chief Development Officer, Rare Disease, Pfizer Global Product Development. "We will work closely with the FDA to determine the best path forward to bring this important once-weekly treatment option to pediatric growth hormone deficiency patients and their families."

Regulatory applications for somatrogon have been submitted to several countries around the world for review. Earlier this week, Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare approved NGENLA® (somatrogon) Inj. 24 mg Pens and 60mg Pens, for the long-term treatment of pediatric patients who have growth failure due to an inadequate secretion of endogenous growth hormone. In 2021, Health Canada approved NGENLA ® for the long-term treatment of pediatric patients who have GHD, and Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved NGENLA ® for the long-term treatment of pediatric patients with growth disturbance due to insufficient secretion of growth hormone. Furthermore, in December 2021, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of EMA issued a positive opinion recommending somatrogon for marketing authorization in the EU, to treat children and adolescents from 3 years of age with growth disturbance due to insufficient secretion of growth hormone. A decision from the European Commission (EC) is expected in early 2022.

In 2014, Pfizer and OPKO entered into a worldwide agreement for the development and commercialization of somatrogon for the treatment of GHD. Under the agreement, OPKO is responsible for conducting the clinical program and Pfizer is responsible for registering and commercializing the product for GHD.

About Growth Hormone Deficiency

Growth hormone deficiency is a rare disease characterized by the inadequate secretion of growth hormone from the pituitary gland and affects one in approximately 4,000 to 10,000 children. 1,2 In children, this disease can be caused by genetic mutations or acquired after birth. 1,3 Because the patient's pituitary gland secretes inadequate levels of somatropin, the hormone that causes growth, a child's height may be affected and puberty may be delayed. 1,3,4 Without treatment, affected children will have persistent growth attenuation and a very short height in adulthood. 3,4 Children may also experience other problems with physical health and mental well-being. 3,4

Pfizer Rare Disease

Rare disease includes some of the most serious of all illnesses and impacts millions of patients worldwide, representing an opportunity to apply our knowledge and expertise to help make a significant impact on addressing unmet medical needs. The Pfizer focus on rare disease builds on more than two decades of experience, a dedicated research unit focusing on rare disease, and a global portfolio of multiple medicines within a number of disease areas of focus, including rare hematologic, neurologic, cardiac and inherited metabolic disorders.

Pfizer Rare Disease combines pioneering science and deep understanding of how diseases work with insights from innovative strategic collaborations with academic researchers, patients, and other companies to deliver transformative treatments and solutions. We innovate every day leveraging our global footprint to accelerate the development and delivery of groundbreaking medicines and the hope of cures.

Click here to learn more about our Rare Disease portfolio and how we empower patients, engage communities in our clinical development programs, and support programs that heighten disease awareness.

About Pfizer: 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 150 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 21, 2022. Pfizer and OPKO assume 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 an investigational growth hormone deficiency therapy, somatrogon, including a potential indication in the U.S. for once-weekly treatment of pediatric patients with growth hormone deficiency, including its potential benefits, 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; uncertainties regarding the company's ability to address the comments in the complete response letter to the satisfaction of the FDA; whether and when drug applications may be filed in any other jurisdictions for any potential indication for somatrogon; whether and when the BLA pending with the FDA for somatrogon for the treatment of pediatric patients with growth hormone deficiency may be approved and whether and when regulatory authorities in any jurisdictions may approve any such other applications that may be pending or filed (including the application filed in the EU), 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 somatrogon 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 somatrogon; uncertainties regarding the impact of COVID-19 on Pfizer's and OPKO's business, operations and financial results; and competitive developments.

A further description of risks and uncertainties can be found in Pfizer's and OPKO's respective Annual Report on Form 10- K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 and in their respective 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 their respective 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 , www.pfizer.com , and www.opko.com .

About OPKO Health, Inc.

OPKO is a multinational biopharmaceutical and diagnostics company that seeks to establish industry-leading positions in large, rapidly growing markets by leveraging its discovery, development, and commercialization expertise and novel and proprietary technologies. For more information, visit http://www.OPKO.com .

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"We are very pleased with the outcome of the BETR-001 pre-IND meeting with the FDA. The response from the FDA confirms that our current program will support the filing of BETR-001's IND application and initiation of human clinical trials by the third quarter of this year. Being a non-hallucinogenic derivative of LSD makes BETR-001 a unique molecule with therapeutic potential for the treatment of debilitating psychiatric and neurological disorders with high unmet need, such as major depressive disorders and cluster headaches. Our team is fully dedicated to start the human clinical trials in the United States by early second half of this year," said BetterLife's Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ahmad Doroudian.

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