Mer­ck halts en­roll­ment on two PhI­II Keytru­da com­bo stud­ies as out­side mon­i­tors flag a wor­ry­ing rate of deaths

Mer­ck $MRK has had to hit the brakes on en­rolling new pa­tients for two of its late-stage com­bo stud­ies in­volv­ing its block­buster check­point Keytru­da af­ter the mon­i­tor­ing com­mit­tee raised a red flag on an im­bal­ance of deaths in the stud­ies in­volv­ing mul­ti­ple myelo­ma.

Treat­ment in the two tri­als will con­tin­ue, says Mer­ck, as they try to eval­u­ate why there were more deaths in the Keytru­da arms of KEYNOTE-183 and KEYNOTE-185. The tri­als in­volve com­bi­na­tions with Cel­gene’s Po­m­a­lyst as well as its flag­ship drug Revlim­id in a field Cel­gene dom­i­nates in.

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