Avelumab is the new antibody with which Germany’s Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany wants to fight cancer. It would strengthen the body's immune system to fight cancer cells. While cancer immunotherapy as a treatment method is still in its infancy, it is considered to be promising. Although Avelumab is still not on the market, Merck KGgaA, Darmstadt, Germany can hope for accelerated approval in the US. The US Food and Drug Administration has given the antibody a “fast-track” status for the treatment of metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare, malignant skin tumor. A “fast-track” status speeds up the review of drugs that treat serious diseases with a high unmet medical need.
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany's collaboration with Pfizer
While Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has several clinical trials in various types of cancer with Avelumab, for the treatment of Merkel cell carcinoma, the antibody is in the second of three phases of clinical development. The company discovered the antibody on its own almost ten years ago and tested its effectiveness in various studies. However, in 2014, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany entered an alliance with US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to develop and co-promote Avelumab. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany expects the first launch of Avelumab in 2017 and then achieve at least one further marketing authorization per year by 2022.