Merck to Test Keytruda With an HDAC Inhibitor

With an aim to grab band-width in the shared PD-1 space, Merck has partnered with Syntax to conduct combination studies of Keytruda with Entinostat in melanoma and lung cancer patients.

Merck has reached an agreement to test Keytruda (pembrolizumab) alongside Syndax's histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor entinostat in phase 1b/2 trials in melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with a view to progressing quickly to full-blown phase 3 studies.

Entinostat is in the same class as Novartis' recently approved panobinostat, which is indicated to treat multiple myeloma, as well as Merck & Co's lymphoma therapy vorinostat that debuted in 2006. HDAC inhibitors are designed to drive the re-expression of silenced genes, including those that encode tumour-suppressing proteins, in cancer cells.

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