"With the five-year survival rate for patients with advanced melanoma at less than 20 percent, there remains a need to offer patients additional options," said Dr. Roy Baynes, senior vice president, clinical development, Merck Research Laboratories. "We are pleased to have regulatory applications under review in the United States and Europe as we work toward bringing pembrolizumab to patients around the world."
About Advanced Melanoma
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and is the 19th most common cause of cancer death in Europe. In 2012, there were an estimated 22,200 deaths from malignant melanoma in Europe. There were an estimated 232,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed worldwide in 2012.
Pembrolizumab (MK-3475) is an investigational, selective, humanized, monoclonal anti-PD-1 antibody designed to reactivate anti-tumor immunity. Pembrolizumab exerts dual ligand blockade of the PD-1 pathway by inhibiting the interaction of PD-1 on T cells with its ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2.
Today, pembrolizumab is being evaluated across more than 30 types of cancers, as monotherapy and in combination. It is anticipated that by the end of 2014, the pembrolizumab development program will grow to more than 24 clinical trials, enrolling an estimated 6,000 patients at nearly 300 clinical trial sites worldwide. For information about Merck's oncology clinical studies, please visit http://www.merck.com/clinical-trials/index.html.
The Biologics License Application (BLA) for pembrolizumab is under priority review with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with advanced melanoma previously-treated with ipilimumab; the PDUFA date is October 28, 2014. Pembrolizumab has been granted FDA's Breakthrough Therapy designation for advanced melanoma. If approved by the FDA, pembrolizumab has the potential to be the first anti-PD-1 therapy approved within the United States.
About MSD Oncology
At MSD Oncology, our goal is to translate breakthrough science into biomedical innovations to help people with cancer worldwide. Harnessing immune mechanisms to fight cancer is the priority focus of our oncology research and development program. The Company is advancing a pipeline of immunotherapy candidates and combination regimens. Cancer is one of the world's most urgent unmet medical needs. Helping to empower people to fight cancer is our passion. For information about MSD's commitment to Oncology visit the Oncology Information Center athttp://www.mercknewsroom.com/oncology-infocenter.
Today's MSD is a global healthcare leader who is working to help the world be well. Through our medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer and animal products, we collaborate with human and animal health professionals across the UK and in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. Beyond this, we have a commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching programmes that donate and deliver our products to people who need them. For more information, please go to www.msd-uk.co.uk.
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