Sunday, September 28, 2014

Another Cancer Shows Good Responses -- To Merck's Keytruda® (Pembrolizumab/Lambrolizumab)

This morning, yet another cancer has shown solid response rates, on pembrolizumab, in a very small study.

And that is good news for Whitehouse Station. We all wait on the bigger burden cancers, to see which of BMS's Opdivo® or Merck's Keytruda® reaches market first, but in the mean time, this is immaterially good news. At this same European oncology conference in Madrid, Spain, Merck expects to show some data on five other types of cancers, in the coming week -- and some of that data might turn out to be material. We will watch for it. From a NASDAQ wire source, then:

. . . .The early findings presented showed an overall response rate of 31 percent with KEYTRUDA as monotherapy. In a small Phase I study involving 39 patients with PD-L1 positive, advanced stomach cancer, a total of 12 people showed tumor shrinkage after being given Keytruda. . . .

These data, from a cohort of the ongoing Phase 1b KEYNOTE-012 study, were presented today, as part of a late-breaking oral session, by Dr. Kei Muro, Aichi Cancer Center Hospital, Nagoya, Japan, at the European Society for Medical Oncology 2014 Congress in Madrid, Spain. Data investigating the use of KEYTRUDA monotherapy in five tumor types will be presented at ESMO 2014. . . .

It turns out that almost three quarters of all of these types of cases of stomach cancers appear in the developing world. And so, this won't likely be as lucrative a market franchise as some of the others, for immuno-oncology treatments. Which may help explain why this program is still in Phase I, while lung cancer is much futher along -- both at Merck, and at BMS. Enjoy the sunshine and cooler air. . . I will.

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