Merck Collaborates With GlaxoSmithKline To Evaluate Novel Combination Regimen For Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma

Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced the initiation of a clinical trial to evaluate the combination of the company’s investigational anti-PD-1 immunotherapy, MK-3475, and GlaxoSmithKline’s orally administered kinase inhibitor, pazopanib, in advanced renal cell carcinoma.

“Collaborations like this are central to Merck’s strategy to evaluate the potential of MK-3475 for the treatment of cancer,” said Iain Dukes, senior vice president, Licensing and External Scientific Affairs, Merck Research Laboratories. “We look forward to initiating further collaborations to investigate MK-3475 in combination with other anti-cancer agents across a range of tumor types.”

Merck and GlaxoSmithKline entered a collaboration to study MK-3475 with pazopanib and other agents in the GlaxoSmithKline portfolio in the future. This Phase I/II clinical trial is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a combination of MK-3475 and pazopanib in treatment naïve patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma. Further details of the collaboration were not disclosed.

About pazopanib

Pazopanib was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma in October 2009 and is marketed under the trade name Votrient®. It is now approved in more than 80 countries. For full US Prescribing Information including BOXED WARNING for hepatotoxicity and Medication Guide, please visit: http://www.gsk.com/products.html

About MK-3475

Many tumors are able to evade the immune system through a mechanism that exploits the PD-1 inhibitory checkpoint protein. MK-3475 is an investigational, highly selective anti-PD-1 immunotherapy designed to restore the natural ability of the immune system to recognize and target cancer cells by selectively achieving dual ligand blockade (PD-L1 and PD-L2) of the PD-1 protein. By blocking PD-1, MK-3475 enables activation of the immune system’s T-cells that target cancer by essentially releasing a brake on the immune system.

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