Merck to Present Data on The First FDA-Approved PD-1 Inhibitor: Pembrolizumab

As the immuno-oncology landscape intensifies, a second player in the game, Merck's PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda), was recently approved for the treatment of advanced, unresectable melanoma.

As the immuno-oncology landscape intensifies, a second player in the game, Merck’s PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda), was recently approved for the treatment of advanced, unresectable melanoma, in patients who are resistant to ipilimumab and to a BRAF inhibitor (if they harbor a BRAFV600 mutation). A press release by Merck on November 6, 2014, announced that results of studies evaluating pembrolizumab against chemotherapy, in advanced melanoma, will be presented at the Society for Melanoma Research, 2014 International Congress in Zurich, Switzerland, on November 16, 2014.

The late breaker oral session, “A Randomized Controlled Comparison of Pembrolizumab (MK-3475) and Chemotherapy in Patients with Ipilimumab-Refractory Melanoma,” will be presented by Dr Antoni Ribas, associate professor at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California at Los Angeles.

“Our focus on evaluating Keytruda as a monotherapy is enabling Merck to rapidly advance the clinical development of our anti-PD-1 therapy,” said Dr Roy Baynes, senior vice president, Global Clinical Development, Merck Research Laboratories, in the press release. “We look forward to the first comparative data in advanced melanoma being presented. We continue to expand our immuno-oncology clinical program with Keytruda both as monotherapy and in combination with other agents.”

Merck is currently testing the antibody in a variety of cancers, including advanced triple-negative breast cancer, classic Hodgkin Lymphoma, and bladder cancer.