Merck & Company (MRK) on Monday announced positive results from two studies of its Keytruda cancer drug.
The company said at the ESMO 2016 Congress, the annual meeting of the European Society for Medical Oncology, that Keytruda reduced the risk of disease progression by 50% and death by 40% in patients with tumors. The study, called Keynote 024, showed Keytruda is the only such drug to increase survival when compared with chemotherapy, Merck said.
In a separate study, called Keynote 021, Keytruda combined with chemotherapy achieved a 55% success rate versus a 29% success rate for chemotherapy alone, and reduced risk of death by 47%.
“Chemotherapy has been the standard treatment for most patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer for decades, but survival rates remain low,” said Roger Perlmutter, the president of Merck Research Laboratories. “Our new data suggest that Keytruda treatment can offer meaningful improvement over chemotherapy in a broad array of patients.”
Merck submitted the results of Keynote 024 to regulatory agencies in the US, Europe and Japan. The US Food and Drug Administration has granted breakthrough therapy designation and priority review for the study.
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