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Merck Enters Collaborations with Amgen, Incyte, and Pfizer

By Kristin Brooks | February 5, 2014

To evaluate combination regimens with MK-3475 onco-immunotherapy

Merck has signed three separate collaboration agreements with Amgen, Incyte Corp. and Pfizer to evaluate novel combination regimens with MK-3475, its investigational anti-PD-1 immunotherapy. Financial terms were not disclosed.
In Phase I/II studies, Pfizer and Merck will evaluate the safety and efficacy of MK-3475 in combination with Pfizer’s small molecule kinase inhibitor axitinib (INLYTA) in patients with renal cell carcinoma, and another study will evaluate MK-3475 plus PF-2566, an investigational immuno-oncology agent that targets the human 4-1BB receptor, in multiple cancer types.
Incyte and Merck will conduct a Phase I/II study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a regimen combining MK-3475 with Incyte’s investigational immunotherapy agent, INCB24360, an indoleamine 2, 3-dioxygenase (IDO) inhibitor, in patients with previously treated metastatic and recurrent NSCLC, as well as advanced or metastatic cancers.
Also, Amgen and Merck will evaluate MK-3475 in combination with Amgen’s investigational oncolytic immunotherapy talimogene laherparepvec in a Phase I/II study in patients with previously untreated advanced melanoma.
Separately, Merck will conduct a Phase I “signal finding” study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of MK-3475 monotherapy in 20 different PD-L1-positive solid tumor types that have not previously been studied.
“Merck clinical scientists intend to explore the potential of our PD-1 inhibitor across a wide range of cancers, both as monotherapy and in combination,” said Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter, president, Merck Research Laboratories. “These new collaborations with Amgen, Incyte and Pfizer underscore our shared determination to evaluate treatment regimens with the potential to provide meaningful benefits to patients suffering from cancer.”

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