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Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Pfizer to Present Data Highlighting Potential of Avelumab in Challenging Cancers at ASCO 2017

Darmstadt, Germany, and New York, US, May 17, 2017 – Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Pfizer today announced that 13 avelumab* abstracts across seven challenging tumor types will be featured at the 53rd...

17 MAY 2017 | Darmstadt, Germany
  • A total of 13 abstracts across seven hard-to-treat cancers highlightthe progress of avelumab as a monotherapy and potential novelcombination treatment option
  • New data in metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma and previously treatedmetastatic urothelial carcinoma, following recent US FDAaccelerated approvals

Darmstadt, Germany, and New York, US, May 17, 2017 – Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Pfizer today announced that 13 avelumab* abstracts across seven challenging tumor types will be featured at the 53rd American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting held June 2–6, 2017 in Chicago, IL. Key presentations include data for avelumab in first-line metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (mMCC) and in previously treated metastatic urothelial carcinoma (UC), as well as results from the Phase Ib trial investigating avelumab in combination with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor axitinib, in advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

“Our ASCO presence adds to what has already been a momentous year for the alliance, coming shortly after the US FDA granted two accelerated approvals for avelumab,” said Luciano Rossetti, M.D., Executive Vice President, Global Head of Research & Development at the biopharma business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which in the US and Canada operates as EMD Serono. “We’re particularly excited to share the latest avelumab data in both metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma in the first-line setting and previously treated metastatic urothelial carcinoma with the cancer community.”

“Our data at ASCO this year underscore the potential of avelumab as a monotherapy treatment, as well as part of combination regimens,” said Chris Boshoff, M.D., PhD, Senior Vice President and Head of Immuno-Oncology, Early Development, Translational Oncology, Pfizer Global Product Development. “Now with accelerated approvals in two indications for avelumab in the US, we are entering the next chapter of our clinical development program to provide meaningful new treatment options for patients who need them most.”

Highlights of avelumab data at ASCO 2017 include the following:

  • Preliminary data from the ongoing JAVELIN Merkel 200 trial, an open-label, multicenter study conducted in first-line mMCC investigating avelumab in patients who had no prior systemic treatment for mMCC, will be presented for the first time at a medical congress.
  • Data from a pooled analysis of two metastatic UC cohorts of the JAVELIN Solid Tumor trial, a Phase Ib, open-label, single-arm, multicenter study of avelumab in the treatment of various solid tumors, will be presented.
  • An oral presentation of results from the JAVELIN Renal 100 trial, a Phase Ib, open-label study evaluating the clinical activity and safety of the combination of avelumab and axitinib for the first-line treatment of advanced RCC.
  • Beyond mMCC, metastatic UC and RCC, the alliance between Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Pfizer will also showcase avelumab abstracts in non-small cell lung cancer, metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer, locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck and relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, as well as updated safety data in solid tumors.

The alliance’s rapidly accelerating JAVELIN clinical development program now involves at least 30 clinical programs, including nine Phase III trials, and more than 5,200 patients across more than 15 tumor types. Results from JAVELIN program trials have supported two FDA accelerated approvals in 2017.

A list of accepted avelumab abstracts is included below. The abstracts are also available on the ASCO website.

Title

Lead Author

Abstract ID / Poster No.

Presentation Date / Time

Session

Oral Presentations

Renal Cell Carcinoma

(JAVELIN Renal 100)

First-line avelumab + axitinib therapy in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma: results from a phase 1b trial

Choueiri TK

4504

Monday, June 5

8:00-11:00 a.m.

Genitourinary (Nonprostate) Cancer

Poster Sessions

Head and Neck Cancer (TiP)

(JAVELIN Head and Neck 100)

JAVELIN Head and Neck 100: a phase 3 trial of avelumab in combination with chemoradiotherapy (CRT) vs CRT for 1st-line treatment of locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (LA SCCHN)

Lee NY

TPS6093

Monday, June 5

1:15-4:45 p.m.

Head and Neck Cancer

Lymphoma (TiP)

(JAVELIN DLBCL)

Phase 1b/3 study of avelumab-based combination regimens in patients (pts) with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (R/R DLBCL)

Chen R

TPS7575

Monday, June 5

8:00-11:30 a.m.

Hematologic Malignancies—Lymphoma and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

(JAVELIN Merkel 200)

First-line avelumab treatment in patients with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma: preliminary data from an ongoing study

D'Angelo SP

9530

Saturday, June 3

1:15-4:45 p.m.

Melanoma/Skin Cancers

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

(JAVELIN Merkel 200)

Exploratory biomarker analysis in patients with chemotherapy-refractory metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma treated with avelumab

Shapiro I

9557

Saturday, June 3

1:15-4:45 p.m.

Melanoma/Skin Cancers

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

(JAVELIN Solid Tumor)

Exposure–response and PD-L1 expression analysis of second-line avelumab in patients with advanced NSCLC: data from the JAVELIN Solid Tumor trial

Gulley JL

9086

Saturday, June 3

8:00-11:30 a.m.

Lung Cancer—Non-Small Cell Metastatic

Pan-Tumor

(JAVELIN Solid Tumor)

Safety profile of avelumab in patients with advanced solid tumors: a JAVELIN pooled analysis of phase 1 and 2 data

Kelly K

3059

Monday, June 5

8:00-11:30 a.m.

Developmental Therapeutics—Immunotherapy

Prostate Cancer

(JAVELIN Solid Tumor)

Avelumab in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC)

Fakhrejahani F

5037

Monday, June 5

1:15-4:45 PM

Genitourinary (Prostate) Cancer

Renal Cell Carcinoma

(JAVELIN Renal 101)

Avelumab plus axitinib vs sunitinib as first-line treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma: phase 3 study (JAVELIN Renal 101)

Choueiri TK

TPS4594

Sunday, June 4

8:00-11:30 a.m.

Genitourinary (Nonprostate)

Urothelial Carcinoma

(JAVELIN Solid Tumor)

Updated efficacy and safety of avelumab in metastatic urothelial carcinoma: pooled analysis from 2 cohorts of the phase 1b JAVELIN Solid Tumor study

Apolo AB

4528

Sunday, June 4

8:00-11:30 a.m.

Genitourinary

(Nonprostate) Cancer

Publications

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

(JAVELIN Merkel 200)

Non-progression during avelumab treatment is associated with clinically relevant improvements in health-related quality of life in patients with Merkel cell carcinoma

Bharmal M

e21070

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

(JAVELIN Merkel 200)

Patient experiences with avelumab vs chemotherapy for treating Merkel cell carcinoma: results from protocol-specified qualitative research

Kaufman HL

e21065

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

(JAVELIN Solid Tumor)

Comparative study of two PD-L1 expression assays in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

Feng Z

e20581

 

*Avelumab is under clinical investigation for treatment of NSCLC, RCC, DLBCL, SSCHN and mCRPC and has not been demonstrated to be safe and effective for these indications. There is no guarantee that avelumab will be approved for NSCLC, RCC, DLBCL, SSCHN and mCRPC by any health authority worldwide.

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About Avelumab

Avelumab is a human antibody specific for a protein called PD-L1, or programmed death ligand-1. Avelumab is designed to potentially engage both the adaptive and innate immune systems. By binding to PD-L1, avelumab is thought to prevent tumor cells from using PD-L1 for protection against white blood cells, such as T-cells, exposing them to anti-tumor responses. Avelumab has been shown to induce antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) in vitro. In November 2014, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Pfizer announced a strategic alliance to co-develop and co-commercialize avelumab.

Indications

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval for avelumab (BAVENCIO®) for the treatment of (i) metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (mMCC) in adults and pediatric patients 12 years and older and (ii) patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (UC) who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy, or who have disease progression within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy. Continued approval for these indications may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials. Avelumab is not approved for any indication in any market outside the US.

Important Safety Information

The warnings and precautions for BAVENCIO include immune-mediated adverse reactions (such as pneumonitis, hepatitis, colitis, endocrinopathies, nephritis and renal dysfunction and other adverse reactions), infusion-related reactions and embryo-fetal toxicity.

Common adverse reactions (reported in at least 20% of patients) in patients treated with avelumab include fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, diarrhea, nausea, infusion-related reaction, peripheral edema, decreased appetite/hypophagia, urinary tract infection and rash.

For full prescribing information and medication guide for BAVENCIO, please see www.BAVENCIO.com.

Alliance between Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Pfizer Inc., New York, US

Immuno-oncology is a top priority for Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Pfizer Inc. The global strategic alliance between Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Pfizer Inc., New York, US, enables the companies to benefit from each other’s strengths and capabilities and further explore the therapeutic potential of avelumab, an anti-PD-L1 antibody initially discovered and developed by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. The immuno-oncology alliance will jointly develop and commercialize avelumab and advance Pfizer’s PD-1 antibody. The alliance is focused on developing high-priority international clinical programs to investigate avelumab as a monotherapy, as well as in combination regimens, and is striving to find new ways to treat cancer.

All Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the EMD Group Website. In case you are a resident of the USA or Canada please go to www.emdgroup.com/subscribe to register again for your online subscription of this service as our newly introduced geo-targeting requires new links in the email. You may later change your selection or discontinue this service.

About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2016, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of € 15.0 billion in 66 countries.

Founded in 1668, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, holds the global rights to the „Merck” name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

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