NOTES TO EDITORSAbout neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) The NF1 gene provides instructions for making a protein called Neurofibromin. The disease is associated with many symptoms, including soft lumps on and under the skin (subcutaneous neurofibromas), skin pigmentation (cafe au lait spots) and, in 20-50 percent of patients, tumors on the nerve sheaths (plexiform neurofibromas). These plexiform neurofibromas can cause morbidities such as pain, motor dysfunction and disfigurement. Patients with NF1 may experience a number of other complications such as learning difficulties, visual impairment, twisting and curvature of the spine, high blood pressure, and epilepsy. People with NF1 also have an increased risk of developing other cancers, including malignant brain and peripheral nerve sheath tumors, and leukaemia. Symptoms begin during early childhood, with varying degrees of severity, and can reduce life expectancy by up to 15 years. About selumetinib Selumetinib, is an investigational MEK 1/2 inhibitor licensed by AstraZeneca from Array BioPharma Inc. in 2003. The NF1 gene codes for a protein called Neurofibromin. This protein negatively regulates the RAS/MAPK pathway, which helps to control cell growth, differentiation and survival. Mutations in the NF1 gene may result in dysregulation in RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK signaling, which can cause cells to grow, divide and copy themselves in an uncontrolled manner, and may result in tumor growth. Selumetinib inhibits the MEK enzyme in this pathway, potentially leading to inhibition of tumor growth. About the AstraZeneca and Merck Strategic Oncology Collaboration In July 2017, AstraZeneca and Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada) announced a global strategic oncology collaboration to co-develop and co-commercialize LYNPARZA, the world's first PARP inhibitor, and potential new medicine selumetinib, a MEK inhibitor, for multiple cancer types. The collaboration is based on increasing evidence that PARP and MEK inhibitors can be combined with PD-L1/PD-1 inhibitors for a range of tumor types. Working together, the companies will jointly develop LYNPARZA and selumetinib in combination with other potential new medicines and as a monotherapy. Independently, the companies will develop LYNPARZA and selumetinib in combination with their respective PD-L1 and PD-1 medicines.
Merck's Focus on CancerOur goal is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. At Merck, helping people fight cancer is our passion and supporting accessibility to our cancer medicines is our commitment. Our focus is on pursuing research in immuno-oncology and we are accelerating every step in the journey - from lab to clinic - to potentially bring new hope to people with cancer. As part of our focus on cancer, Merck is committed to exploring the potential of immuno-oncology with one of the fastest-growing development programs in the industry. We are currently executing an expansive research program evaluating our anti-PD-1 therapy across more than 30 tumor types. We also continue to strengthen our immuno-oncology portfolio through strategic acquisitions and are prioritizing the development of several promising immunotherapeutic candidates with the potential to improve the treatment of advanced cancers. For more information about our oncology clinical trials, visit www.merck.com/clinicaltrials. About Merck For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company 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. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world - including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer's disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the "company") includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company's management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. There can be no guarantees with respect to pipeline products that the products will receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that they will prove to be commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.
Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company's ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company's patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in the company's 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC's Internet site ( www.sec.gov).