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Eisai Co., Ltd. and Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that the companies have agreed upon a strategic collaboration for the worldwide co-development and co-commercialization of LENVIMA ® (lenvatinib mesylate), an orally available tyrosine kinase inhibitor discovered by Eisai. Under the agreement, Eisai and Merck will develop and commercialize LENVIMA jointly, both as monotherapy and in combination with Merck's anti-PD-1 therapy, KEYTRUDA ® (pembrolizumab).

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Eisai will book LENVIMA product sales globally, as monotherapy and in combination, and Merck and Eisai will share gross profits equally. LENVIMA is currently approved as monotherapy for use in the treatment of thyroid cancer, as well as in combination with everolimus for the treatment of patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) who have failed previous therapy. Applications for regulatory approval of LENVIMA monotherapy for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma have been submitted in Japan, the United States, Europe, China and other countries.

A Phase 3 study (Study 307), sponsored by Eisai, is ongoing to evaluate separate combinations of LENVIMA with KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) or LENVIMA with everolimus versus chemotherapy alone for the treatment of RCC. In January 2018, the companies announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation for the LENVIMA/KEYTRUDA combination in advanced and/or metastatic RCC. This was based on interim results from an ongoing Phase 1b/2 trial (Study 111/KEYNOTE-146), evaluating the combination in select solid tumors (including RCC and endometrial cancer), which provided evidence for synergistic effects on the observed overall response rate, regardless of treatment experience or PD-L1 tumor expression.

Per the agreement, the companies will also jointly initiate new clinical studies evaluating the LENVIMA/KEYTRUDA combination to support 11 potential indications in six types of cancer (endometrial cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, head and neck cancer, bladder cancer and melanoma), as well as a basket trial targeting multiple cancer types.

"Aiming to maximize the potential of LENVIMA and expedite the creation of innovative treatments in this age of "Cancer Evolution," we have entered into this collaboration with Merck who developed the anti-PD-1 antibody KEYTRUDA," commented Haruo Naito, Representative Corporate Officer and CEO of Eisai Co., Ltd. "By providing new treatment options including for refractory cancers with no hopes for a cure to date, we are striving to further contribute to increasing the benefits provided to patients and their families."

"Together with Eisai, we aim to maximize the value of LENVIMA for its current indications while jointly pursuing additional approvals in combination with KEYTRUDA across a wide range of cancers," said Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter, President, Merck Research Laboratories. "There is strong scientific evidence supporting synergistic effects of KEYTRUDA when used in combination with LENVIMA, and the companies have already received Breakthrough Therapy Designation from the U.S. FDA for the KEYTRUDA/LENVIMA combination in renal cell carcinoma. Through this collaboration, we will both broaden our oncology portfolio and have the opportunity to help even more cancer patients around the world."

Financial Considerations

Gross profits from LENVIMA product sales globally will be shared equally by Eisai and Merck. Expenses incurred during co-development, including for studies evaluating LENVIMA as monotherapy, will be shared equally by the two companies.

Under the agreement, Merck will pay Eisai an upfront payment of $300 million U.S. dollars and up to $650 million U.S. dollars for certain option rights through 2020 (Eisai's financial year: fiscal year ended March 2021), as well as $450 million U.S. dollars as reimbursement for research and development expenses. In addition, Eisai is eligible to receive up to $385 million U.S. dollars associated with the achievement of certain clinical and regulatory milestones and a maximum of up to $3.97 billion U.S. dollars for the achievement of milestones associated with sales of LENVIMA. Assuming the achievement of all development and commercial goals for all indications, the total amount of upfront, option and regulatory and sales milestone payments has the potential to reach up to $5.76 billion U.S. dollars.

The impact of this collaboration on Eisai's consolidated financial results has been incorporated into the Notification Regarding Revision of Consolidated Financial Results Forecasts (IFRS) for the Fiscal Year Ending March 31, 2018 announced on March 8 (Japan).

About the Phase 1b/2 Study (Study 111/KEYNOTE-146) that Supported Breakthrough Therapy Designation for the LENVIMA/KEYTRUDA Combination

Study 111/KEYNOTE-146 is a multicenter, open-label, Phase 1b/2 clinical study being carried out in the United States and the European Union to evaluate the efficacy and safety of LENVIMA in combination with KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab). The primary objective of the Phase 1b portion of the study was to determine the maximum tolerated dose in patients with unresectable solid tumors (endometrial cancer, melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, RCC, squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, and urothelial cancer) who had progressed after treatment with approved therapies or for which there are no standard effective therapies available. The initial part of Phase 2 enrolled patients with select solid tumors after previous treatment with 0-2 lines of systemic therapy (unless discussed with the sponsor) with a recommended dosage based on the results of the Phase 1b part. The primary endpoint of the initial part of Phase 2 was objective response rate (ORR) after 24 weeks of treatment, with select secondary endpoints including ORR, disease control rate, progression-free survival, and duration of response. The expansion part of Phase 2 is ongoing, and enrollment of patients is continuing in the endometrial cancer cohort.

From the results of the analysis (investigator review) of the RCC cohort 1 (n=30) in Study 111/KEYNOTE-146 as of March 1, 2017, the primary endpoint of the Phase 2 portion, ORR after 24 weeks of treatment (ORR Week 24) was 63 percent (95% CI, 44-80), with tumor regression observed in 93 percent (28/30) of patients since the initiation of treatment (baseline). A tumor response was observed regardless of previous treatment experience or tumor PD-L1 expression. In this cohort, the most frequently observed adverse events (top six) were diarrhea, fatigue, hypothyroidism, stomatitis, hypertension, and nausea.

The results of the interim analysis (n=23) of the endometrial cancer cohort in Study 111/KEYNOTE-146 as of December 1, 2016, indicated ORR Week 24 of 52.2 percent (95% CI, 30.6-73.2) based on independent radiologic review and 47.8 percent (95% CI, 26.8-69.4) based on investigator review. Additionally, tumor regression was observed regardless of the state of microsatellite instability (MSI). Anti-PD-1 antibodies are generally less effective in patients with low frequency of MSI, which is a biomarker for the inability to repair errors in the base sequence of DNA, or who are MSI negative. In this cohort, the most frequently observed adverse events (top five) were hypertension, fatigue, arthralgia, diarrhea, and nausea.

Meanwhile, a similar Phase 1b clinical study (Study 115/KEYNOTE-523) in Japanese patients with unresectable solid tumors and a Phase 1b clinical study (Study 116/KEYNOTE-524) of the combination therapy in hepatocellular carcinoma in Japan and the United States are both underway.

About LENVIMA ® (lenvatinib mesylate)

Discovered and developed in-house by Eisai, LENVIMA is an orally administered multiple receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) inhibitor with a novel binding mode that selectively inhibits the kinase activities of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors (VEGFR1, VEGFR2 and VEGFR3) and fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptors (FGFR1, FGFR2, FGFR3 and FGFR4) in addition to other pathway-related RTKs (including the platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) receptor PDGFRa; KIT; and RET) involved in tumor angiogenesis, tumor progression and modification of tumor immunity.

Currently, Eisai has obtained approval for LENVIMA as a treatment for refractory thyroid cancer in over 50 countries, including the United States, Japan, in Europe and Asia. Additionally, Eisai has obtained approval for the agent in combination with everolimus as a second-line treatment for RCC in over 40 countries, including the United States and in Europe. In Europe, the agent was launched under the brand name Kisplyx ® for RCC.

Furthermore, Eisai has submitted applications for an indication covering hepatocellular carcinoma in Japan (June 2017), the United States and Europe (July 2017), China (October 2017), Taiwan (December 2017) and other countries.

The eight major clinical studies in progress on LENVIMA are as follows:

  • A Phase 3 clinical study (Study 307) of separate combinations of LENVIMA with KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) or LENVIMA with everolimus versus chemotherapy alone in RCC (first-line) conducted in Japan, the United States and Europe.
  • A Phase 3 clinical study (Study 308) of LENVIMA in thyroid cancer being conducted in China.
  • A Phase 2 clinical study (Study 215) of LENVIMA in biliary tract cancer being conducted in Japan.
  • A Phase 2 clinical study (Study 209) of LENVIMA in non-small cell lung cancer with RET translocations being conducted in Japan, the United States, Europe and Asia.
  • A Phase 1b/2 clinical study (Study 111/KEYNOTE-146) of LENVIMA in combination with KEYTRUDA in select solid tumors (RCC, endometrial cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, urothelial cancer, squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, and melanoma) being conducted in the United States and European Union. Based on interim results, the combination treatment has been granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the U.S. FDA for the potential treatment of patients with advanced and/or metastatic RCC.
  • A Phase 1b clinical study (Study 115/KEYNOTE-523) of LENVIMA in combination with KEYTRUDA in select solid tumors (RCC, endometrial cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, urothelial cancer, squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, and melanoma) being conducted in Japan.
  • A Phase 1b clinical study (Study 116/KEYNOTE-524) of LENVIMA in combination with KEYTRUDA in hepatocellular carcinoma being conducted in Japan and the United States.
  • A Phase 1b clinical study of LENVIMA in combination with nivolumab in hepatocellular carcinoma being conducted in Japan.

LENVIMA ® (lenvatinib) Indications in the U.S.

LENVIMA ® (lenvatinib) is a kinase inhibitor that is indicated for:
  • Differentiated Thyroid Cancer (DTC): single agent for patients with locally recurrent or metastatic, progressive, radioactive iodine-refractory DTC.
  • Renal Cell Cancer (RCC): in combination with everolimus for patients with advanced RCC following one prior anti-angiogenic therapy.

Important Safety Information

Warnings and Precautions
  • In DTC, hypertension was reported in 73% of patients on LENVIMA (lenvatinib) vs 16% with placebo (44% vs 4% grade =3). In RCC, hypertension was reported in 42% of patients on LENVIMA + everolimus vs 10% with everolimus alone (13% vs 2% grade 3). Serious complications of poorly controlled hypertension, including aortic dissection, have been reported. Systolic blood pressure =160 mmHg occurred in 29% of patients, and 21% of patients had a diastolic blood pressure =100 mmHg in the LENVIMA + everolimus-treated group. Blood pressure should be controlled prior to treatment and monitored throughout. Withhold dose for grade 3 hypertension despite optimal antihypertensive therapy; resume at reduced dose when controlled at grade =2. Discontinue for life-threatening hypertension
  • In DTC, cardiac dysfunction was reported in 7% of patients on LENVIMA vs 2% with placebo (2% vs 0% grade =3). In RCC, decreased ejection fraction and cardiac failure were reported in 10% of patients on LENVIMA + everolimus vs 6% with everolimus alone (3% vs 2% grade 3). Monitor for signs/symptoms of cardiac decompensation. Withhold LENVIMA for development of grade 3 cardiac dysfunction until improvement to grade 0, 1, or baseline. Resume at reduced dose or discontinue based on severity and persistence of cardiac dysfunction. Discontinue for grade 4 cardiac dysfunction
  • In DTC, arterial thromboembolic events were reported in 5% of patients on LENVIMA vs 2% with placebo (3% vs 1% grade =3). In RCC, arterial thromboembolic events were reported in 2% of patients on LENVIMA + everolimus vs 6% with everolimus alone (2% vs 4% grade =3). Discontinue following an arterial thrombotic event. The safety of resuming LENVIMA after an arterial thromboembolic event has not been established, and LENVIMA has not been studied in patients who have had an arterial thromboembolic event within the previous 6 months
  • Across clinical studies in which 1,160 patients received LENVIMA monotherapy, hepatic failure (including fatal events) was reported in 3 patients and acute hepatitis in 1 patient. In DTC, ALT and AST increases (grade =3) occurred in 4% and 5% of patients on LENVIMA, respectively, vs 0% with placebo. In RCC, ALT and AST increases (grade =3) occurred in 3% of patients on LENVIMA + everolimus vs 2% and 0% with everolimus alone, respectively. Monitor liver function before initiation, then every 2 weeks for the first 2 months, and at least monthly thereafter during treatment. Withhold dose for liver impairment grade =3 until resolved to grade 0, 1, or baseline. Resume at reduced dose or discontinue based on severity/persistence of hepatotoxicity. Discontinue for hepatic failure
  • In DTC, proteinuria was reported in 34% of patients on LENVIMA vs 3% with placebo (11% vs 0% grade 3). In RCC, proteinuria was reported in 31% of patients on LENVIMA + everolimus vs 14% with everolimus alone (8% vs 2% grade 3). Monitor for proteinuria before and during treatment. Withhold dose for proteinuria =2 g/24 h. Resume at reduced dose when proteinuria is <2 g/24 h. Discontinue for nephrotic syndrome
  • In RCC, diarrhea was reported in 81% of patients on LENVIMA + everolimus vs 34% with everolimus alone (19% vs 2% grade =3). Initiate prompt medical management for the development of diarrhea. Monitor for dehydration. Withhold dose for diarrhea grade =3. Resume at a reduced dose when diarrhea resolves to grade 1 or baseline. Permanently discontinue LENVIMA for grade 4 diarrhea despite medical management
  • In DTC, events of renal impairment were reported in 14% of patients on LENVIMA vs 2% with placebo (3% vs 1% grade =3). In RCC, events of renal impairment were reported in 18% of patients on LENVIMA + everolimus vs 12% with everolimus alone (10% vs 2% grade =3). Withhold LENVIMA for grade 3 or 4 renal failure/impairment. Resume at reduced dose or discontinue, depending on severity/persistence of renal impairment. Active management of diarrhea and any other gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms should be initiated for grade 1 events
  • In DTC, events of GI perforation or fistula were reported in 2% of patients on LENVIMA vs 0.8% with placebo. In RCC, events of GI perforation, abscess, or fistula (grade =3) were reported in 2% of patients on LENVIMA (lenvatinib) + everolimus vs 0% with everolimus alone. Discontinue in patients who develop GI perforation or life-threatening fistula
  • In DTC, QT/QTc interval prolongation was reported in 9% of patients on LENVIMA vs 2% with placebo (2% vs 0% >500 ms). In RCC, QTc interval increases >60 ms were reported in 11% of patients on LENVIMA + everolimus (6% >500 ms) vs 0% with everolimus alone. Monitor electrocardiograms in patients with congenital long QT syndrome, congestive heart failure, bradyarrhythmias, or patients taking drugs known to prolong the QT interval. Monitor and correct electrolyte abnormalities in all patients. Withhold dose for QTc interval prolongation >500 ms. Resume at reduced dose when QTc prolongation resolves to baseline
  • In DTC, hypocalcemia (grade =3) was reported in 9% of patients on LENVIMA vs 2% with placebo. In RCC, hypocalcemia (grade =3) was reported in 6% of patients on LENVIMA + everolimus vs 2% with everolimus alone. Monitor blood calcium levels at least monthly and replace calcium as necessary. Interrupt and adjust LENVIMA as necessary
  • Across clinical studies in which 1,160 patients received LENVIMA monotherapy, reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS) was reported in 4 patients. Withhold LENVIMA for RPLS until fully resolved. Resume at reduced dose or discontinue based on the severity and persistence of neurologic symptoms
  • Across clinical studies in which 1,160 patients received LENVIMA monotherapy, hemorrhage (grade =3) was reported in 2% of patients. In DTC, hemorrhagic events occurred in 35% of patients on LENVIMA vs 18% with placebo (2% vs 3% grade =3). There was 1 fatal intracranial hemorrhage case among 16 patients who received LENVIMA and had central nervous system metastases at baseline. The most frequently reported hemorrhagic event was epistaxis (11% grade 1, 1% grade 2). Discontinuation due to hemorrhagic events occurred in 1% of patients on LENVIMA. In RCC, hemorrhagic events occurred in 34% of patients on LENVIMA + everolimus vs 26% with everolimus alone (8% vs 2% grade =3). The most frequently reported hemorrhagic event was epistaxis (23% for LENVIMA + everolimus vs 24% with everolimus alone). There was 1 fatal cerebral hemorrhage case. Discontinuation due to hemorrhagic events occurred in 3% of patients on LENVIMA + everolimus. Consider the risk of severe or fatal hemorrhage associated with tumor invasion/infiltration of major blood vessels (eg, carotid artery). Withhold LENVIMA for the development of grade 3 hemorrhage until resolved to grade 0 or 1. Resume at reduced dose or discontinue based on severity/persistence of hemorrhage. Discontinue for grade 4 hemorrhage
  • In DTC patients with normal baseline thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), elevation of TSH level above 0.5 mU/L was observed postbaseline in 57% of patients on LENVIMA vs 14% with placebo. In RCC, grade 1 or 2 hypothyroidism occurred in 24% of patients on LENVIMA + everolimus vs 2% with everolimus alone. In RCC patients with normal or low TSH at baseline, elevation of TSH was observed postbaseline in 60% of patients on LENVIMA + everolimus vs 3% with everolimus alone. Monitor thyroid function before initiation of and at least monthly throughout treatment. Treat hypothyroidism according to standard medical practice to maintain a euthyroid state
  • Impaired wound healing, including fistula formation, has been reported in patients receiving LENVIMA. Temporary interruption of LENVIMA therapy should be considered in patients undergoing major surgical procedures
  • LENVIMA can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Advise females of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with LENVIMA and for at least 2 weeks following completion of therapy

Adverse Reactions
  • In DTC, the most common adverse reactions (=30%) observed in LENVIMA-treated patients vs placebo-treated patients were hypertension (73% vs 16%), fatigue (67% vs 35%), diarrhea (67% vs 17%), arthralgia/myalgia (62% vs 28%), decreased appetite (54% vs 18%), weight decrease (51% vs 15%), nausea (47% vs 25%), stomatitis (41% vs 8%), headache (38% vs 11%), vomiting (36% vs 15%), proteinuria (34% vs 3%), palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome (32% vs 1%), abdominal pain (31% vs 11%), and dysphonia (31% vs 5%)
  • In DTC, adverse reactions led to dose reductions in 68% of patients receiving LENVIMA (lenvatinib) and in 5% of patients receiving placebo; 18% of patients discontinued LENVIMA and 5% discontinued placebo for adverse reactions. The most common adverse reactions (=10%) resulting in dose reductions of LENVIMA were hypertension (13%), proteinuria (11%), decreased appetite (10%), and diarrhea (10%); the most common adverse reactions (=1%) resulting in discontinuation of LENVIMA were hypertension (1%) and asthenia (1%)
  • In RCC, the most common adverse reactions (>30%) observed in patients treated with LENVIMA + everolimus vs everolimus alone were diarrhea (81% vs 34%), fatigue (73% vs 40%), arthralgia/myalgia (55% vs 32%), decreased appetite (53% vs 18%), vomiting (48% vs 12%), nausea (45% vs 16%), stomatitis/oral inflammation (44% vs 50%), hypertension/increased blood pressure (42% vs 10%), peripheral edema (42% vs 20%), cough (37% vs 30%), abdominal pain (37% vs 8%), dyspnea/exertional dyspnea (35% vs 28%), rash (35% vs 40%), weight decreased (34% vs 8%), hemorrhagic events (32% vs 26%), and proteinuria/urine protein present (31% vs 14%). The most common serious adverse reactions (=5%) were renal failure (11%), dehydration (10%), anemia (6%), thrombocytopenia (5%), diarrhea (5%), vomiting (5%), and dyspnea (5%)
  • In RCC, adverse reactions led to dose reductions or interruption in 89% of patients receiving LENVIMA + everolimus and in 54% of patients receiving everolimus alone. The most common adverse reactions (=5%) resulting in dose reductions in the LENVIMA + everolimus-treated group were diarrhea (21%), fatigue (8%), thrombocytopenia (6%), vomiting (6%), nausea (5%), and proteinuria (5%). Treatment discontinuation due to an adverse reaction occurred in 29% of patients in the LENVIMA + everolimus-treated group and in 12% of patients in the everolimus-treated group

Use in Specific Populations
  • Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants, advise women to discontinue breastfeeding during treatment
  • LENVIMA may result in reduced fertility in females of reproductive potential and may result in damage to male reproductive tissues, leading to reduced fertility of unknown duration

For more information about LENVIMA, click here for the full Prescribing Information.

About KEYTRUDA ® (pembrolizumab) Injection 100mg

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.

KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) Indications and Dosing in the U.S.

Melanoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma at a fixed dose of 200 mg every three weeks until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

Lung Cancer

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have high PD-L1 expression [tumor proportion score (TPS) =50%] as determined by an FDA-approved test, with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations.

KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab), as a single agent, is also indicated for the treatment of patients with metastatic NSCLC whose tumors express PD-L1 (TPS =1%) as determined by an FDA-approved test, with disease progression on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy. Patients with EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations should have disease progression on FDA-approved therapy for these aberrations prior to receiving KEYTRUDA.

KEYTRUDA, in combination with pemetrexed and carboplatin, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic nonsquamous NSCLC. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and progression-free survival. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials.

In metastatic NSCLC, KEYTRUDA is administered at a fixed dose of 200 mg every three weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease progression.

When administering KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) in combination with chemotherapy, KEYTRUDA should be administered prior to chemotherapy when given on the same day. See also the Prescribing Information for pemetrexed and carboplatin.

Head and Neck Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) with disease progression on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials. In HNSCC, KEYTRUDA is administered at a fixed dose of 200 mg every three weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease progression.

Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL), or who have relapsed after three or more prior lines of therapy. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials. In adults with cHL, KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) is administered at a fixed dose of 200 mg every three weeks until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease progression. In pediatric patients with cHL, KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) is administered at a dose of 2 mg/kg (up to a maximum of 200 mg) every three weeks until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease progression.

Urothelial Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma who are not eligible for cisplatin-containing chemotherapy. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and duration of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials.

KEYTRUDA is also indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy or within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.

In locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma, KEYTRUDA is administered at a fixed dose of 200 mg every three weeks until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease progression.

Microsatellite Instability-High (MSI-H) Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with unresectable or metastatic microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR)
  • solid tumors that have progressed following prior treatment and who have no satisfactory alternative treatment options, or
  • colorectal cancer that has progressed following treatment with fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan.

This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials. The safety and effectiveness of KEYTRUDA in pediatric patients with MSI-H central nervous system cancers have not been established.

In adult patients with MSI-H cancer, KEYTRUDA is administered at a fixed dose of 200 mg every three weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease progression. In children with MSI-H cancer, KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) is administered at a dose of 2 mg/kg (up to a maximum of 200 mg) every three weeks until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease progression.

Gastric Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma whose tumors express PD-L1 [Combined Positive Score (CPS) =1] as determined by an FDA-approved test, with disease progression on or after two or more prior lines of therapy including fluoropyrimidine- and platinum-containing chemotherapy and if appropriate, HER2/neu-targeted therapy. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials. The recommended dose of KEYTRUDA is 200 mg every three weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease progression.

Selected Important Safety Information for KEYTRUDA ®   (pembrolizumab)

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated pneumonitis, including fatal cases. Pneumonitis occurred in 94 (3.4%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 1 (0.8%), 2 (1.3%), 3 (0.9%), 4 (0.3%), and 5 (0.1%) pneumonitis, and occurred more frequently in patients with a history of prior thoracic radiation (6.9%) compared to those without (2.9%). Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of pneumonitis. Evaluate suspected pneumonitis with radiographic imaging. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater pneumonitis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 or recurrent Grade 2 pneumonitis.

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated colitis. Colitis occurred in 48 (1.7%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.4%), 3 (1.1%), and 4 (<0.1%) colitis. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of colitis. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater colitis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2 or 3; permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 4 colitis.

KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) can cause immune-mediated hepatitis. Hepatitis occurred in 19 (0.7%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.4%), and 4 (<0.1%) hepatitis. Monitor patients for changes in liver function. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater hepatitis and, based on severity of liver enzyme elevations, withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA.

KEYTRUDA can cause hypophysitis. Hypophysitis occurred in 17 (0.6%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.2%), 3 (0.3%), and 4 (<0.1%) hypophysitis. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of hypophysitis (including hypopituitarism and adrenal insufficiency). Administer corticosteroids and hormone replacement as clinically indicated. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; withhold or discontinue for Grade 3 or 4 hypophysitis.

KEYTRUDA can cause thyroid disorders, including hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and thyroiditis. Hyperthyroidism occurred in 96 (3.4%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.8%) and 3 (0.1%) hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism occurred in 237 (8.5%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (6.2%) and 3 (0.1%) hypothyroidism. The incidence of new or worsening hypothyroidism was higher in patients with HNSCC, occurring in 28 (15%) of 192 patients with HNSCC, including Grade 3 (0.5%) hypothyroidism. Thyroiditis occurred in 16 (0.6%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.3%) thyroiditis. Monitor patients for changes in thyroid function (at the start of treatment, periodically during treatment, and as indicated based on clinical evaluation) and for clinical signs and symptoms of thyroid disorders. Administer replacement hormones for hypothyroidism and manage hyperthyroidism with thionamides and beta-blockers as appropriate. Withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 hyperthyroidism.

KEYTRUDA can cause type 1 diabetes mellitus, including diabetic ketoacidosis, which have been reported in 6 (0.2%) of 2799 patients. Monitor patients for hyperglycemia or other signs and symptoms of diabetes. Administer insulin for type 1 diabetes, and withhold

KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) and administer antihyperglycemics in patients with severe hyperglycemia.

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated nephritis. Nephritis occurred in 9 (0.3%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.1%), and 4 (<0.1%) nephritis. Monitor patients for changes in renal function. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater nephritis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 nephritis.

Immune-mediated rashes, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) (some cases with fatal outcome), exfoliative dermatitis, and bullous pemphigoid, can occur. Monitor patients for suspected severe skin reactions and based on the severity of the adverse reaction, withhold or permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) and administer corticosteroids. For signs or symptoms of SJS or TEN, withhold KEYTRUDA and refer the patient for specialized care for assessment and treatment. If SJS or TEN is confirmed, permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA.

KEYTRUDA can cause other clinically important immune-mediated adverse reactions. These immune-mediated reactions may occur in any organ system. For suspected immune-mediated adverse reactions, ensure adequate evaluation to confirm etiology or exclude other causes. Based on the severity of the adverse reaction, withhold KEYTRUDA and administer corticosteroids. Upon improvement to Grade 1 or less, initiate corticosteroid taper and continue to taper over at least 1 month. Based on limited data from clinical studies in patients whose immune-related adverse reactions could not be controlled with corticosteroid use, administration of other systemic immunosuppressants can be considered. Resume KEYTRUDA when the adverse reaction remains at Grade 1 or less following corticosteroid taper. Permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for any Grade 3 immune-mediated adverse reaction that recurs and for any life-threatening immune-mediated adverse reaction.

The following clinically significant immune-mediated adverse reactions occurred in less than 1% (unless otherwise indicated) of 2799 patients: arthritis (1.5%), uveitis, myositis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, myasthenia gravis, vasculitis, pancreatitis, hemolytic anemia, and partial seizures arising in a patient with inflammatory foci in brain parenchyma. In addition, myelitis and myocarditis were reported in other clinical trials, including classical Hodgkin lymphoma, and postmarketing use.

Solid organ transplant rejection has been reported in postmarketing use of KEYTRUDA. Treatment with KEYTRUDA may increase the risk of rejection in solid organ transplant recipients. Consider the benefit of treatment with KEYTRUDA vs the risk of possible organ rejection in these patients.

KEYTRUDA can cause severe or life-threatening infusion-related reactions, including hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis, which have been reported in 6 (0.2%) of 2799 patients. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of infusion-related reactions, including rigors, chills, wheezing, pruritus, flushing, rash, hypotension, hypoxemia, and fever. For Grade 3 or 4 reactions, stop infusion and permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA.

Immune-mediated complications, including fatal events, occurred in patients who underwent allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) after being treated with KEYTRUDA. Of 23 patients with cHL who proceeded to allogeneic HSCT after treatment with KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) on any trial, 6 patients (26%) developed graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), one of which was fatal, and 2 patients (9%) developed severe hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD) after reduced-intensity conditioning, one of which was fatal. Cases of fatal hyperacute GVHD after allogeneic HSCT have also been reported in patients with lymphoma who received a PD-1 receptor-blocking antibody before transplantation.

These complications may occur despite intervening therapy between PD-1 blockade and allogeneic HSCT. Follow patients closely for early evidence of transplant-related complications such as hyperacute GVHD, severe (Grade 3 to 4) acute GVHD, steroid-requiring febrile syndrome, hepatic VOD, and other immune-mediated adverse reactions, and intervene promptly.

In clinical trials in patients with multiple myeloma, the addition of KEYTRUDA to a thalidomide analogue plus dexamethasone resulted in increased mortality. Treatment of these patients with a PD-1 or PD-L1 blocking antibody in this combination is not recommended outside of controlled clinical trials.

Based on its mechanism of action, KEYTRUDA can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. If used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant during treatment, apprise the patient of the potential hazard to a fetus. Advise females of reproductive potential to use highly effective contraception during treatment and for 4 months after the last dose of KEYTRUDA.

In KEYNOTE-006, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 9% of 555 patients with advanced melanoma; adverse reactions leading to discontinuation in more than one patient were colitis (1.4%), autoimmune hepatitis (0.7%), allergic reaction (0.4%), polyneuropathy (0.4%), and cardiac failure (0.4%). Adverse reactions leading to interruption of KEYTRUDA occurred in 21% of patients; the most common (=1%) was diarrhea (2.5%). The most common adverse reactions with KEYTRUDA vs ipilimumab were fatigue (28% vs 28%), diarrhea (26% with KEYTRUDA), rash (24% vs 23%), and nausea (21% with KEYTRUDA). Corresponding incidence rates are listed for ipilimumab only for those adverse reactions that occurred at the same or lower rate than with KEYTRUDA.

In KEYNOTE-010, KEYTRUDA monotherapy was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8% of 682 patients with metastatic NSCLC. The most common adverse event resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA was pneumonitis (1.8%). Adverse reactions leading to interruption of KEYTRUDA occurred in 23% of patients; the most common (=1%) were diarrhea (1%), fatigue (1.3%), pneumonia (1%), liver enzyme elevation (1.2%), decreased appetite (1.3%), and pneumonitis (1%). The most common adverse reactions (occurring in at least 20% of patients and at a higher incidence than with docetaxel) were decreased appetite (25% vs 23%), dyspnea (23% vs 20%), and nausea (20% vs 18%).

In KEYNOTE-021(G1), when KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) was administered in combination with carboplatin and pemetrexed (carbo/pem) in advanced nonsquamous NSCLC, KEYTRUDA was discontinued in 10% of 59 patients. The most common adverse reaction resulting in discontinuation of KEYTRUDA (=2%) was acute kidney injury (3.4%). Adverse reactions leading to interruption of KEYTRUDA occurred in 39% of patients; the most common (=2%) were fatigue (8%), neutrophil count decreased (8%), anemia (5%), dyspnea (3.4%), and pneumonitis (3.4%). The most common adverse reactions (=20%) with KEYTRUDA compared to carbo/pem alone were fatigue (71% vs 50%), nausea (68% vs 56%), constipation (51% vs 37%), rash (42% vs 21%), vomiting (39% vs 27%), dyspnea (39% vs 21%), diarrhea (37% vs 23%), decreased appetite (31% vs 23%), headache (31% vs 16%), cough (24% vs 18%), dizziness (24% vs 16%), insomnia (24% vs 15%), pruritus (24% vs 4.8%), peripheral edema (22% vs 18%), dysgeusia (20% vs 11%), alopecia (20% vs 3.2%), upper respiratory tract infection (20% vs 3.2%), and arthralgia (15% vs 24%). This study was not designed to demonstrate a statistically significant difference in adverse reaction rates for KEYTRUDA as compared to carbo/pem alone for any specified adverse reaction.

In KEYNOTE-012, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 17% of 192 patients with HNSCC. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 45% of patients. The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported in at least 2% of patients were pneumonia, dyspnea, confusional state, vomiting, pleural effusion, and respiratory failure. The most common adverse reactions (reported in at least 20% of patients) were fatigue, decreased appetite, and dyspnea. Adverse reactions occurring in patients with HNSCC were generally similar to those occurring in patients with melanoma or NSCLC, with the exception of increased incidences of facial edema (10% all Grades; 2.1% Grades 3 or 4) and new or worsening hypothyroidism.

In KEYNOTE-087, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 5% of 210 patients with cHL, and treatment was interrupted due to adverse reactions in 26% of patients. Fifteen percent (15%) of patients had an adverse reaction requiring systemic corticosteroid therapy. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 16% of patients. The most frequent serious adverse reactions (=1%) included pneumonia, pneumonitis, pyrexia, dyspnea, GVHD, and herpes zoster. Two patients died from causes other than disease progression; one from GVHD after subsequent allogeneic HSCT and one from septic shock. The most common adverse reactions (occurring in =20% of patients) were fatigue (26%), pyrexia (24%), cough (24%), musculoskeletal pain (21%), diarrhea (20%), and rash (20%).

In KEYNOTE-052, KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 11% of 370 patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma. The most common adverse reactions (in =20% of patients) were fatigue (38%), musculoskeletal pain (24%), decreased appetite (22%), constipation (21%), rash (21%), and diarrhea (20%). Eighteen patients (5%) died from causes other than disease progression. Five patients (1.4%) who were treated with KEYTRUDA experienced sepsis which led to death, and 3 patients (0.8%) experienced pneumonia which led to death. Adverse reactions leading to interruption of KEYTRUDA occurred in 22% of patients; the most common (=1%) were liver enzyme increase, diarrhea, urinary tract infection, acute kidney injury, fatigue, joint pain, and pneumonia. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 42% of patients, the most frequent (=2%) of which were urinary tract infection, hematuria, acute kidney injury, pneumonia, and urosepsis.

In KEYNOTE-045, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8% of 266 patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma. The most common adverse reaction resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA was pneumonitis (1.9%). Adverse reactions leading to interruption of KEYTRUDA occurred in 20% of patients; the most common (=1%) were urinary tract infection (1.5%), diarrhea (1.5%), and colitis (1.1%). The most common adverse reactions (=20%) in patients who received KEYTRUDA vs those who received chemotherapy were fatigue (38% vs 56%), musculoskeletal pain (32% vs 27%), pruritus (23% vs 6%), decreased appetite (21% vs 21%), nausea (21% vs 29%), and rash (20% vs 13%). Serious adverse reactions occurred in 39% of KEYTRUDA-treated patients, the most frequent (=2%) of which were urinary tract infection, pneumonia, anemia, and pneumonitis.

It is not known whether KEYTRUDA is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, instruct women to discontinue nursing during treatment with KEYTRUDA and for 4 months after the final dose.

There is limited experience in pediatric patients. In a study, 40 pediatric patients (16 children aged 2 years to younger than 12 years and 24 adolescents aged 12 years to 18 years) with advanced melanoma, lymphoma, or PD-L1-positive advanced, relapsed, or refractory solid tumors were administered KEYTRUDA 2 mg/kg every 3 weeks. Patients received KEYTRUDA for a median of 3 doses (range 1-17 doses), with 34 patients (85%) receiving KEYTRUDA for 2 doses or more. The safety profile in these pediatric patients was similar to that seen in adults treated with KEYTRUDA. Toxicities that occurred at a higher rate (=15% difference) in these patients when compared to adults under 65 years of age were fatigue (45%), vomiting (38%), abdominal pain (28%), hypertransaminasemia (28%), and hyponatremia (18%).

Please see Prescribing Information for KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) at http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/k/keytruda/keytruda_pi.pdf and Patient Information/Medication Guide for KEYTRUDA at http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/k/keytruda/keytruda_mg.pdf

Eisai's Focus on Cancer

Eisai regards oncology as a key therapeutic area and is aiming to discover revolutionary new medicines with the potential to cure cancer by leveraging drug creation base technologies cultivated through the discovery of Lenvima and Halaven, as well as technologies associated with organic synthetic chemistry and drug discovery science. Eisai's research groups in Japan and the United States are working on drug discovery activities using drug discovery platforms mainly for the cancer microenvironment, driver gene mutation and aberrant splicing in cancer cells, that are Eisai's strengths.

About Eisai Co., Ltd.

Eisai Co., Ltd. is a leading global research and development-based pharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan. 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. With approximately 10,000 employees working across our global network of R&D facilities, manufacturing sites and marketing subsidiaries, we strive to realize our hhc philosophy by delivering innovative products in various therapeutic areas with high unmet medical needs, including Oncology and Neurology.

As a global pharmaceutical company, our mission extends to patients around the world through our investment and participation in partnership-based initiatives to improve access to medicines in developing and emerging countries.

For more information about Eisai Co., Ltd., please visit www.eisai.com.

Merck's Focus on Cancer

Our 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  TwitterFacebookInstagram, 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 2017 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).

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