KENILWORTH - Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and Eisai today announced new investigational data from two trials under the LEAP clinical program evaluating KEYTRUDA, Merck's anti-PD-1 therapy, plus LENVIMA, the orally available multiple receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor discovered by Eisai.
In the Phase 2 LEAP-004 trial, KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA showed an objective response rate (ORR) of 21.4% (95% CI: 13.9-30.5) in patients with unresectable or advanced melanoma who had previously progressed on an anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy. In the Phase 2 LEAP-005 trial, KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA demonstrated an ORR that ranged from 9.7-32.3% (95% CI: 2.0-51.4) in previously treated patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), ovarian cancer, gastric cancer, colorectal cancer (non-microsatellite instability-high [non-MSI-H]/mismatch repair proficient [pMMR]), glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and biliary tract cancer (BTC). Results from LEAP-004 (Abstract #LBA44) and LEAP-005 (Abstract #LBA41) were accepted as late-breaking abstracts and are being presented in proffered paper presentations at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Virtual Congress 2020.
'These new data from our LEAP clinical program show encouraging activity across several aggressive cancer types and expand our knowledge about the potential of KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA to help a range of patients with these cancers,' said Dr. Scot Ebbinghaus, Vice President, Clinical Research, Merck Research Laboratories. 'This is the first time that clinical data from two LEAP trials are being presented, reflecting important progress we are making to explore the potential of this combination for patients in need of new options, particularly those with advanced melanoma who have progressed on an anti-PD-1 or PD-L1 therapy.'
'We are encouraged by the growing body of research that we have seen to date, now in 13 different cancers, supporting the potential of the KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA combination, which we're currently evaluating in 19 clinical trials,' said Dr. Takashi Owa, Chief Medicine Creation and Chief Discovery Officer, Oncology Business Group at Eisai. 'These data not only help advance our understanding of the regimen but also fuel our deep-seated determination to work to address the unmet needs of these patients.'
About KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) Injection, 100 mg
KEYTRUDA is an anti-PD-1 therapy that works by increasing the ability of the body's immune system to help detect and fight tumor cells. KEYTRUDA is a humanized monoclonal antibody that blocks the interaction between PD-1 and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, thereby activating T lymphocytes which may affect both tumor cells and healthy cells.
Merck has the industry's largest immuno-oncology clinical research program. There are currently more than 1,200 trials studying KEYTRUDA across a wide variety of cancers and treatment settings. The KEYTRUDA clinical program seeks to understand the role of KEYTRUDA across cancers and the factors that may predict a patient's likelihood of benefitting from treatment with KEYTRUDA, including exploring several different biomarkers.
About the Eisai and Merck Strategic Collaboration
In March 2018, Eisai and Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, through an affiliate, entered into a strategic collaboration for the worldwide co-development and co-commercialization of LENVIMA. Under the agreement, the companies will jointly develop, manufacture and commercialize LENVIMA, both as monotherapy and in combination with Merck's anti-PD-1 therapy KEYTRUDA.
In addition to ongoing clinical studies evaluating the KEYTRUDA plus LENVIMA combination across several different tumor types, the companies have jointly initiated new clinical studies through the LEAP (LEnvatinib And Pembrolizumab) clinical program and are evaluating the combination in 13 different tumor types (endometrial carcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, renal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, urothelial cancer, biliary tract cancer, colorectal cancer, gastric cancer, glioblastoma, ovarian cancer and triple-negative breast cancer) across 19 clinical trials.
Merck's Focus on Cancer
Our goal is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. At Merck, the potential to bring new hope to people with cancer drives our purpose and supporting accessibility to our cancer medicines is our commitment. As part of our focus on cancer, Merck is committed to exploring the potential of immuno-oncology with one of the largest development programs in the industry across more than 30 tumor types. We also continue to strengthen our portfolio through strategic acquisitions and are prioritizing the development of several promising oncology candidates with the potential to improve the treatment of advanced cancers.
For more than 125 years, Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives. We demonstrate our commitment to patients and population health by increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals - including cancer, infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola, and emerging animal diseases - as we aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world.
Eisai's Focus on Cancer
Eisai focuses on the development of anticancer drugs, targeting the tumor microenvironment (with experience and knowledge from existing in-house discovered compounds) and the driver gene mutation and aberrant splicing (leveraging RNA Splicing Platform) as areas (Ricchi) where real patient needs are still unmet, and where Eisai can aim to become a frontrunner in oncology. Eisai aspires to discover innovative new drugs with new targets and mechanisms of action from these Ricchi, with the aim of contributing to the cure of cancers.
Eisai is a leading global research and development-based pharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan, with approximately 10,000 employees worldwide. We define our corporate mission as 'giving first thought to patients and their families and to increasing the benefits health care provides,' which we call our human health care (hhc) philosophy. We strive to realize our hhc philosophy by delivering innovative products in therapeutic areas with high unmet medical needs, including Oncology and Neurology. In the spirit of hhc, we take that commitment even further by applying our scientific expertise, clinical capabilities and patient insights to discover and develop innovative solutions that help address society's toughest unmet needs, including neglected tropical diseases and the Sustainable Development Goals.
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