Eliav Barr, Merck Research Laboratories chief medical officer

Mer­ck­'s Keytru­da plus TIG­IT com­bo proves less ef­fec­tive than chemo in open-la­bel lung can­cer study

Ahead of Keytru­da’s patent cliff in 2028, Mer­ck is try­ing to de­vel­op a va­ri­ety of com­bi­na­tion ther­a­pies that can ex­tend the megablock­buster’s po­ten­tial. But one of those com­bos just hit a snag, and it’s putting the com­pa­ny in dam­age con­trol mode.

MK-7684A, a brew of pem­brolizum­ab (Keytru­da’s chem­i­cal name) and Mer­ck’s in-house an­ti-TIG­IT com­pound vi­bostolimab, failed the open-la­bel por­tion of a Phase II study mea­sur­ing it against chemother­a­py in metasta­t­ic non-small cell lung can­cer, the Big Phar­ma an­nounced Thurs­day af­ter­noon. The reg­i­men did not im­prove pa­tients’ pro­gres­sion-free sur­vival odds com­pared to the con­trol and was less ef­fec­tive than chemo.

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