Step aside As­traZeneca, Pfiz­er/Mer­ck KGaA jump ahead, get­ting a speedy re­view for their check­point ri­val avelum­ab

Now it’s Pfiz­er’s turn to jump in­to the hot­ly con­test­ed check­point mar­ket.

The phar­ma gi­ant and its part­ner Mer­ck KGaA say that the FDA has ac­cept­ed their first BLA for avelum­ab, with reg­u­la­tors promis­ing a speedy re­view for this lat­est check­point in­hibitor — like­ly rel­e­gat­ing As­traZeneca to an em­bar­rass­ing fifth place fin­ish for its lag­gard.

Pfiz­er and the Ger­man Mer­ck will be tak­ing a shot at first mover ad­van­tage in metasta­t­ic Merkel cell car­ci­no­ma, where in­ves­ti­ga­tors have tracked pos­i­tive da­ta in the JAVELIN Merkel 200 study. The drug is cur­rent­ly in 30 clin­i­cal pro­grams as the two play­ers look to wedge their way in­to a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar mar­ket for drugs that are gain­ing wide use in treat­ing can­cer.

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