Pharma Giants to Collaborate on Immuno-oncology Regimens

Merck and Eli Lilly have entered an agreement to collaborate on clinical trials to evaluate the former's recently approved PD-1 inhibitor, Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in combination with Lilly's oncology agents in several clinical trials targeting multiple tumor types.

Merck, known as MSD outside the US and Canada, and Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY) announced today an oncology clinical trial collaboration to evaluate the safety, tolerability and efficacy of KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, in combination with Lilly compounds in multiple clinical trials:

  • Merck will conduct a Phase 2 study examining the combination of pembrolizumab with pemetrexed in first-line non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This study is currently enrolling.
  • Lilly will conduct a multiple-arm Phase 1/2 study examining the combination of ramucirumab with pembrolizumab in multiple tumors. This study is anticipated to begin in 2015.
  • Lilly will conduct a Phase 1/2 study examining the combination of necitumumab with pembrolizumab in NSCLC. This study is anticipated to begin in 2015.

The agreement is between Lilly and Merck, through a subsidiary. Additional details of the collaboration were not disclosed.

Link to the press release: http://bit.ly/1xkNyYq