Mer­ck, In­cyte map a Phase III pipeline of their own for a front­line com­bo of Keytru­da and epaca­do­stat

Last fall In­cyte and Mer­ck whipped up con­sid­er­able en­thu­si­asm for a match-up of their IDO1 en­zyme in­hibitor and Keytru­da in an ear­ly-stage study of melanoma. They fol­lowed up with a com­mit­ment to ex­pand their part­ner­ship to go af­ter a range of can­cers. And this morn­ing the part­ners out­lined ag­gres­sive plans to take the com­bo through sev­en piv­otal tri­als.

Re­searchers for these two com­pa­nies got ex­cit­ed about the po­ten­tial for this com­bi­na­tion af­ter see­ing pro­gres­sion-free sur­vival rates of 74 per­cent and 57 per­cent at 6 months and 12 months among the ad­vanced melanoma pa­tients they treat­ed last year in a Phase I. Their melanoma part­ner­ship was ex­pand­ed to in­clude a Phase III melanoma tri­al. Now they are push­ing ahead in the clin­ic to see if In­cyte’s epaca­do­stat and Keytru­da can make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in front­line use against non-small cell lung can­cer, blad­der can­cer, re­nal can­cer and squa­mous cell car­ci­no­ma of the head and neck (SC­CHN).

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