By Colin Kellaher

 

Merck & Co. on Wednesday said a pair of Phase 3 studies of its blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda fell short of their goals.

The Kenilworth, N.J., drugmaker said a study evaluating Keytruda in combination with chemotherapy compared with chemotherapy alone didn't meet its primary endpoints of overall survival and radiographic progression-free survival in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

Merck said that while there were modest trends toward an improvement in both endpoints for patients who received the combination, the results didn't meet statistical significance.

Separately, Merck said a study investigating Keytruda plus Eisai Co.'s Lenvima missed its primary endpoints of overall survival and progression-free survival as a first-line treatment for patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of primary liver cancer.

Eisai and Merck in March 2018 formed a collaboration to jointly develop, manufacture and commercialize Lenvima as monotherapy and in combination with Keytruda.

Merck said it remains confident in the potential of the combination, and it will continue to investigate its role across multiple types of cancer. The companies are studying the combination in more than 10 different tumor types across more than 15 clinical trials.

Keytruda, a cancer drug that harnesses a patient's immune system to fight tumors, is approved in dozens of indications around the world and had sales topping $17 billion last year.

 

Write to Colin Kellaher at colin.kellaher@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 03, 2022 07:33 ET (11:33 GMT)

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