The European Medicines Agency Accepts Regulatory Submission For LYNPARZA® (olaparib) In BRCA-Mutated HER2-Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer

AstraZeneca and Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the US and Canada, today announced that the European Medicines Agency has validated for review the Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) for LYNPARZA ® (olaparib) for use in patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious BRCA-mutated, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative metastatic breast cancer who have been previously treated with chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant, adjuvant or metastatic setting.

This is the first regulatory submission for a poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor in breast cancer in Europe. If approved, the identification of a patient's BRCA status could become a critical step in the management of their disease alongside current consideration of their hormone receptor and HER2 status. The MAA is based on data from the randomized, open-label, phase 3 OlympiAD trial, which investigated LYNPARZA versus chemotherapy (physician's choice of capecitabine, eribulin, or vinorelbine). In the trial, LYNPARZA significantly prolonged progression-free survival compared with chemotherapy, and reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 42 percent (HR 0.58; 95% CI 0.43-0.80; P=0.0009 median 7.0 vs 4.2 months).

In January 2018, LYNPARZA was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in the treatment of BRCA-mutated HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer, becoming the first PARP inhibitor to be approved beyond ovarian cancer. LYNPARZA is available in nearly 60 countries and has been used to treat more than 20,000 patients. AstraZeneca and Merck are working together to bring LYNPARZA to more patients across multiple cancers.

About OlympiAD

OlympiAD is a global, randomized, open-label, multi-center phase 3 trial of 302 patients, assessing the efficacy and safety of LYNPARZA tablets (300 mg twice daily) compared to physician's choice of chemotherapy. 205 patients were randomized to receive LYNPARZA and 97 patients were randomized to receive chemotherapy.

Patients in the OlympiAD trial had germline BRCA-mutated, HER2-negative (hormone receptor-positive or triple-negative) breast cancer, and received LYNPARZA for treatment in the metastatic setting. Prior to enrollment, 71 percent of patients had received no more than two previous chemotherapy treatments for metastasized breast cancer and 28 percent of patients had received prior platinum-based chemotherapy. Also enrolled, were patients with HR+ breast cancer who had received at least one endocrine therapy (adjuvant therapy or therapy for metastatic disease) and had disease progression during therapy unless they had disease for which the endocrine therapy was considered inappropriate.

About Metastatic Breast Cancer

Progesterone receptors (PR), estrogen receptors (ER) and HER2 receptors may be expressed on breast cancer cells. A patient's breast cancer will test either negative or positive for these three receptors. If a tumor tests positive for PR and/or ER, it is considered HR+. If a tumor tests negative for all three receptors, it is considered triple negative. These receptors indicate which hormones or other proteins may be promoting growth of the cancer.

Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is the most advanced stage of breast cancer (Stage IV), and occurs when cancer cells have spread beyond the initial tumor site to other parts of the body outside of the breast and nearby lymph nodes.

Despite the increase in treatment options during the past three decades, there is currently no cure for patients diagnosed with MBC and only 26.9 percent of patients survive for five years after diagnosis. Thus, the primary aim of treatment is to slow progression of the disease for as long as possible, improving, or at least maintaining, a patient's quality of life.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, with an estimated 1.67 million new cases diagnosed worldwide in 2012 alone - one in four of all cancer cases. Approximately 30 percent of women who are diagnosed with early breast cancer will go on to develop advanced disease.

About BRCA Mutations

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that produce proteins responsible for repairing damaged DNA and play an important role maintaining the genetic stability of cells. When either of these genes is mutated, or altered, such that its protein product either is not made or does not function correctly, DNA damage may not be repaired properly and cells become unstable. As a result, cells are more likely to develop additional genetic alterations that can lead to cancer.

About LYNPARZA (olaparib)

LYNPARZA was the first in class PARP inhibitor and the first targeted treatment to potentially exploit DNA damage response (DDR) pathway deficiencies, such as BRCA mutations, to preferentially kill cancer cells. Specifically, in vitro trials have shown that LYNPARZA-induced cytotoxicity may involve inhibition of PARP enzymatic activity and increased formation of PARP-DNA complexes, resulting in DNA damage and cancer cell death.

LYNPARZA, which has the broadest clinical development program of any PARP inhibitor, is being investigated in a range of DDR-deficient tumor types.

The most frequently observed adverse reactions across clinical trials in patients receiving LYNPARZA monotherapy (=10%) were nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dyspepsia, fatigue, headache, dysgeusia, decreased appetite, dizziness and anemia.

LYNPARZA, the first poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor approved, was initially licensed as a capsule formulation. The new tablet formulation will reduce dosing from eight capsules twice daily to two tablets twice daily.

LYNPARZA is available in nearly 60 countries and has treated more than 20,000 patients globally. It has the broadest clinical development program of any PARP inhibitor, and AstraZeneca and Merck are working together to bring LYNPARZA to more patients across multiple cancers. In January 2018, LYNPARZA was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in metastatic breast cancer, becoming the first PARP inhibitor licensed beyond ovarian cancer.

Indications for LYNPARZA (olaparib) in the U.S.

LYNPARZA is a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor indicated:

For the maintenance treatment of adult patients with recurrent epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer, who are in complete or partial response to platinum-based chemotherapy.

For the treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious germline BRCA-mutated (gBRCAm) advanced ovarian cancer who have been treated with 3 or more prior lines of chemotherapy. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.

In patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious gBRCAm, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative metastatic breast cancer who have previously been treated with chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant, adjuvant or metastatic setting. Patients with hormone receptor (HR)-positive breast cancer should have been treated with a prior endocrine therapy or be considered inappropriate for endocrine treatment. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.

Important Safety Information for LYNPARZA ® (olaparib)

Contraindications

There are no contraindications for LYNPARZA.

Warnings and Precautions

Myelodysplastic Syndrome/Acute Myeloid Leukemia (MDS/AML): Occurred in <1.5% of patients exposed to LYNPARZA monotherapy, and the majority of events had a fatal outcome. The duration of therapy in patients who developed secondary MDS/AML varied from <6 months to >2 years. All of these patients had previous chemotherapy with platinum agents and/or other DNA-damaging agents, including radiotherapy, and some also had a history of more than one primary malignancy or of bone marrow dysplasia.

Do not start LYNPARZA until patients have recovered from hematological toxicity caused by previous chemotherapy (=Grade 1). Monitor complete blood count for cytopenia at baseline and monthly thereafter for clinically significant changes during treatment. For prolonged hematological toxicities, interrupt LYNPARZA (olaparib) and monitor blood count weekly until recovery.

If the levels have not recovered to Grade 1 or less after 4 weeks, refer the patient to a hematologist for further investigations, including bone marrow analysis and blood sample for cytogenetics. Discontinue LYNPARZA if MDS/AML is confirmed.

Pneumonitis: Occurred in <1% of patients exposed to LYNPARZA, and some cases were fatal. If patients present with new or worsening respiratory symptoms such as dyspnea, cough, and fever, or a radiological abnormality occurs, interrupt LYNPARZA treatment and initiate prompt investigation. Discontinue LYNPARZA if pneumonitis is confirmed and treat patient appropriately.

Embryo-Fetal Toxicity: Based on its mechanism of action and findings in animals, LYNPARZA can cause fetal harm. A pregnancy test is recommended for females of reproductive potential prior to initiating treatment.

Females

Advise females of reproductive potential of the potential risk to a fetus and to use effective contraception during treatment and for 6 months following the last dose.

Males

Advise male patients with female partners of reproductive potential or who are pregnant to use effective contraception during treatment and for 3 months following the last dose of LYNPARZA and to not donate sperm during this time.

Adverse Reactions—Maintenance Setting

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in =20% of patients in clinical trials of LYNPARZA in the maintenance setting for SOLO-2: nausea (76%), fatigue (including asthenia) (66%), anemia (44%), vomiting (37%), nasopharyngitis/upper respiratory tract infection (URI)/influenza (36%), diarrhea (33%), arthralgia/myalgia (30%), dysgeusia (27%), headache (26%), decreased appetite (22%), and stomatitis (20%).

Study 19: nausea (71%), fatigue (including asthenia) (63%), vomiting (35%), diarrhea (28%), anemia (23%), respiratory tract infection (22%), constipation (22%), headache (21%), and decreased appetite (21%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in =25% of patients in clinical trials of LYNPARZA in the maintenance setting (SOLO-2/Study 19) were: increase in mean corpuscular volume (89%/82%), decrease in hemoglobin (83%/82%), decrease in leukocytes (69%/58%), decrease in lymphocytes (67%/52%), decrease in absolute neutrophil count (51%/47%), increase in serum creatinine (44%/45%), and decrease in platelets (42%/36%).

Adverse Reactions—Advanced gBRCAm Ovarian Cancer

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in =20% of patients in clinical trials of LYNPARZA (olaparib) for advanced gBRCAm ovarian cancer after 3 or more lines of chemotherapy (pooled from 6 studies) were: fatigue (including asthenia) (66%), nausea (64%), vomiting (43%), anemia (34%), diarrhea (31%), nasopharyngitis/upper respiratory tract infection (URI) (26%), dyspepsia (25%), myalgia (22%), decreased appetite (22%), and arthralgia/musculoskeletal pain (21%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in =25% of patients in clinical trials of LYNPARZA for advanced gBRCAm ovarian cancer (pooled from 6 studies) were: decrease in hemoglobin (90%), increase in mean corpuscular volume (57%), decrease in lymphocytes (56%), increase in serum creatinine (30%), decrease in platelets (30%), and decrease in absolute neutrophil count (25%).

Adverse Reactions—gBRCAm, HER2-Negative Breast Cancer

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in =20% of patients in OlympiAD were: nausea (58%), anemia (40%), fatigue (including asthenia) (37%), vomiting (30%), neutropenia (27%), respiratory tract infection (27%), leukopenia (25%), diarrhea (21%), and headache (20%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in =25% of patients in OlympiAD were: decrease in hemoglobin (82%), decrease in lymphocytes (73%), decrease in leukocytes (71%), increase in mean corpuscular volume (71%), decrease in absolute neutrophil count (46%), and decrease in platelets (33%).

Drug Interactions

Anticancer Agents: Clinical studies of LYNPARZA in combination with other myelosuppressive anticancer agents, including DNA-damaging agents, indicate a potentiation and prolongation of myelosuppressive toxicity.

CYP3A Inhibitors: Avoid concomitant use of strong or moderate CYP3A inhibitors. If a strong or moderate CYP3A inhibitor must be co-administered, reduce the dose of LYNPARZA. Advise patients to avoid grapefruit, grapefruit juice, Seville oranges, and Seville orange juice during LYNPARZA (olaparib) treatment.

CYP3A Inducers: Avoid concomitant use of strong or moderate CYP3A inducers when using LYNPARZA. If a moderate inducer cannot be avoided, there is a potential for decreased efficacy of LYNPARZA.

Use In Specific Populations

Lactation: No data are available regarding the presence of olaparib in human milk, its effects on the breastfed infant or on milk production. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in the breastfed infant, advise a lactating woman not to breastfeed during treatment with LYNPARZA and for 1 month after receiving the final dose.

Pediatric Use: The safety and efficacy of LYNPARZA have not been established in pediatric patients.

Hepatic Impairment: No adjustment to the starting dose is required in patients with mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh classification A). There are no data in patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment.

Renal Impairment: No adjustment to the starting dose is necessary in patients with mild renal impairment (CLcr=51-80 mL/min). In patients with moderate renal impairment (CLcr=31-50 mL/min), reduce the dose to 200 mg twice daily. There are no data in patients with severe renal impairment or end-stage renal disease (CLcr =30 mL/min).

Dosing and Administration

To avoid substitution errors and overdose, do not substitute LYNPARZA tablets with LYNPARZA capsules on a milligram-to-milligram basis due to differences in the dosing and bioavailability of each formulation. Recommended tablet dose is 300 mg, taken orally twice daily, with or without food. Continue treatment until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. For adverse reactions, consider dose interruption or dose reduction.

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 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 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).

Please see complete  Prescribing Information for LYNPARZA (olaparib), including Patient Information (Medication Guide)

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