Eisai cutting 91 jobs after out-license deal; Merck touts first-line Keytruda results in endometrial cancer
Eisai will eliminate 91 after it out-licensed a seizure drug.
An Eisai spokesperson told Endpoints News that the change-up is tied to Fycompa, a seizure treatment that Florida rare disease biotech Catalyst Pharmaceuticals agreed to pay $160 million to Eisai in exchange for commercial rights back in December. The job cuts were originally flagged in a New Jersey state WARN notice.
The spokesperson said that Catalyst indicated interest in retaining up to 40 employees who work on Fycompa. Those who qualify will have an opportunity to interview with Catalyst.
Employees who meet certain eligibility criteria are encouraged to look at other opportunities within the company, Eisai said. — Paul Schloesser
Merck touts Keytruda results in first-line endometrial cancer patients
Merck’s Keytruda has notched a win in a new subgroup of endometrial cancer patients; the company announced one day after revealing that the megablockbuster oncology drug brought in $20.9 billion last year.
When given Keytruda in combination with chemotherapy as a first-line treatment, a group of late-stage endometrial cancer patients saw a “significant and clinically meaningful improvement” in progression-free survival, according to an interim analysis of a Phase III study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. The study included stage 3 or 4 or recurrent patients whose cancer was either mismatch repair deficient (dMMR, the most common cause of hereditary endometrial cancer), or mismatch repair proficient (pMMR).
Keytruda was administered along with chemotherapy and then continued as a single agent every six weeks for up to 14 cycles, according to the company. Merck’s saving the full results for an upcoming medical meeting and will discuss the data with regulators.
The news comes a day after Merck CEO Rob Davis touted $20.9 billion in 2022 Keytruda sales and spelled out plans for “pushing the boundaries of what pembro can do.” He mentioned nine ongoing trials during the earnings call, including five studies in Phase III, for Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in combination with other immuno-oncology drugs. — Nicole DeFeudis