Mer­ck pulls the plug on a study eval­u­at­ing block­buster Keytru­da with Yer­voy for NSCLC

About a month ago, up­on tout­ing new on­col­o­gy da­ta, Mer­ck reaf­firmed its com­mit­ment to ex­plor­ing new Keytru­da com­bi­na­tions for lung can­cer pa­tients. The Big Phar­ma has now pulled the plug on one of those com­bi­na­tions, af­ter in­ter­im da­ta showed an in­creased risk and no re­ward.

An in­de­pen­dent Da­ta Mon­i­tor­ing Com­mit­tee urged Mer­ck to end a Phase III tri­al eval­u­at­ing cash cow Keytru­da — which brought in $11.1 bil­lion last year — and Bris­tol My­ers Squibb’s Yer­voy (ip­il­i­mum­ab) in PD-L1 pos­i­tive metasta­t­ic non-small cell lung can­cer (NSCLC) pa­tients. In an in­ter­im analy­sis, the com­bi­na­tion showed no in­cre­men­tal ben­e­fit in over­all sur­vival (OS) or pro­gres­sion-free sur­vival (PFS), the study’s two pri­ma­ry end­points.

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