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First-Line Treatment With Merck’s KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) Doubled Five-Year Survival Rate (31.9%) Versus Chemotherapy (16.3%) in Certain Patients…

By daniellenierenberg

KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep 21, 2020--

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced five-year survival results from the pivotal Phase 3 KEYNOTE-024 trial, which demonstrated a sustained, long-term survival benefit and durable responses with KEYTRUDA, Mercks anti-PD-1 therapy, versus chemotherapy as first-line treatment in patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors express PD-L1 (tumor proportion score [TPS] 50%) with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations. At five years, the overall survival (OS) rate was twice as high for patients who received KEYTRUDA (31.9%; n=154) versus chemotherapy (16.3%; n=151). KEYTRUDA also reduced the risk of death by 38% (HR=0.62 [95% CI, 0.48-0.81) versus chemotherapy, with a median OS of 26.3 versus 13.4 months. Results from KEYNOTE-024 represent the longest follow-up and first-ever five-year survival data for an immunotherapy in a randomized Phase 3 study for the first-line treatment of NSCLC.

Before 2014, the five-year survival rate for patients in the U.S. with advanced non-small cell lung cancer was only 5%. Data presented today from KEYNOTE-024 showed that 31.9% of patients treated with KEYTRUDA were alive at five years, said Martin Reck, M.D., Ph.D., Lung Clinic Grosshansdorf, German Center of Lung Research. Survival outcomes in these patients with metastatic lung cancer did not seem possible to many oncologists, including myself, several years ago. The long-term survival benefit achieved with KEYTRUDA as a single agent in this study is a great example of the progress we have made in lung cancer to provide patients with more time without disease progression and a chance at a longer life.

KEYTRUDA has become foundational in the treatment of metastatic lung cancer based on the sustained, long-term survival benefit demonstrated in our clinical trials. These new, first-of-their-kind five-year survival results from KEYNOTE-024 add to our understanding of the important role that KEYTRUDA now has in the treatment of lung cancer, said Dr. Roy Baynes, senior vice president and head of global clinical development, chief medical officer, Merck Research Laboratories. It is particularly noteworthy that at five years, 81.4% of patients who completed two years of treatment with KEYTRUDA were alive and nearly half of these patients remained treatment-free, representing an encouraging new precedent in the first-line metastatic non-small cell lung cancer setting. We are grateful to the many patients and health care providers in this trial and our other trials for their essential role in these studies and in advancing cancer care.

These late-breaking data were presented as a proffered paper at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Virtual Congress 2020 on Monday, Sept. 21 (Abstract #LBA51). As announced, data spanning more than 15 types of cancer will be presented from Mercks broad oncology portfolio and investigational pipeline at the congress. A compendium of presentations and posters of Merck-led studies is available here. Follow Merck on Twitter via @Merck and keep up to date with ESMO news and updates by using the hashtag #ESMO20.

Five-Year Overall Survival Data From KEYNOTE-024 (Abstract #LBA51)

New data from KEYNOTE-024 (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02142738 ) demonstrated a sustained, long-term survival benefit with KEYTRUDA versus chemotherapy after 59.9 months of median follow-up (range, 55.1 to 68.4). The pivotal Phase 3, randomized, open-label trial evaluated KEYTRUDA monotherapy versus standard of care platinum-based chemotherapy as first-line treatment in patients with metastatic NSCLC whose tumors express high levels of PD-L1 (TPS 50%) with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations.

KEYTRUDA reduced the risk of death by 38% (HR=0.62 [95% CI, 0.48-0.81]) versus chemotherapy alone, with a median OS of 26.3 versus 13.4 months. The five-year OS rate was 31.9% for patients who received KEYTRUDA versus 16.3% for those who received chemotherapy. The OS benefit was observed, despite a 66% (n=99/150) effective crossover rate from chemotherapy to subsequent anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy. KEYTRUDA also reduced the risk of disease progression or death by half (HR=0.50 [95% CI, 0.39-0.65]) versus chemotherapy as assessed by investigators, with a median progression-free survival of 7.7 versus 5.5 months. The objective response rate (ORR) was 46.1% for KEYTRUDA versus 31.1% for chemotherapy. The median duration of response was 29.1 months (range, 2.2 to 60.8+) for KEYTRUDA versus 6.3 months (range, 3.1 to 52.4) for chemotherapy.

Of the patients who completed two years of treatment with KEYTRUDA (n=39/154), 81.4% were alive at five years and nearly half (46%) remained treatment-free. These data suggest that patients who completed two years of treatment with KEYTRUDA experienced a long-term OS benefit. The ORR was 82% for patients who completed two years of treatment with KEYTRUDA. Additionally, 12 patients received a second course of therapy.

No new safety signals for KEYTRUDA were identified with long-term follow-up. Among all patients who were treated, 31.2% of those who received KEYTRUDA and 53.3% of those who received chemotherapy experienced Grade 3-5 treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs). Among patients who completed two years of treatment with KEYTRUDA, Grade 3-5 TRAEs occurred in 15.4%.

About Lung Cancer

Lung cancer, which forms in the tissues of the lungs, usually within cells lining the air passages, is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than die of colon and breast cancers combined. The two main types of lung cancer are non-small cell and small cell. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for about 85% of all cases. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for about 10 to 15% of all lung cancers. Before 2014, the five-year survival rate for patients diagnosed in the U.S. with NSCLC and SCLC was estimated to be 5% and 6%, respectively.

About KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) Injection, 100 mg

KEYTRUDA is an anti-PD-1 therapy that works by increasing the ability of the bodys 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.

Merck has the industrys largest immuno-oncology clinical research program. There are currently more than 1,200 trials studying KEYTRUDA across a wide variety of cancers and treatment settings. The KEYTRUDA clinical program seeks to understand the role of KEYTRUDA across cancers and the factors that may predict a patient's likelihood of benefitting from treatment with KEYTRUDA, including exploring several different biomarkers.

Selected KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) Indications

Melanoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the adjuvant treatment of patients with melanoma with involvement of lymph node(s) following complete resection.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations.

KEYTRUDA, in combination with carboplatin and either paclitaxel or paclitaxel protein-bound, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic squamous NSCLC.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with NSCLC expressing PD-L1 [tumor proportion score (TPS) 1%] as determined by an FDA-approved test, with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations, and is stage III where patients are not candidates for surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation, or metastatic.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is 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.

Small Cell Lung Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with metastatic small cell lung cancer (SCLC) with disease progression on or after platinum-based chemotherapy and at least 1 other prior line 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 confirmatory trials.

Head and Neck Squamous Cell Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with platinum and fluorouracil (FU), is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or with unresectable, recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or with unresectable, recurrent HNSCC whose tumors express PD-L1 [combined positive score (CPS) 1] as determined by an FDA-approved test.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, 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.

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 3 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.

Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with refractory primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL), or who have relapsed after 2 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 confirmatory trials. KEYTRUDA is not recommended for treatment of patients with PMBCL who require urgent cytoreductive therapy.

Urothelial Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) who are not eligible for cisplatin-containing chemotherapy and whose tumors express PD-L1 [combined positive score (CPS) 10], as determined by an FDA-approved test, or in patients who are not eligible for any platinum-containing chemotherapy regardless of PD-L1 status. 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 confirmatory trials.

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

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG)-unresponsive, high-risk, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) with carcinoma in situ (CIS) with or without papillary tumors who are ineligible for or have elected not to undergo cystectomy.

Microsatellite Instability-High or Mismatch Repair Deficient 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)

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.

Microsatellite Instability-High or Mismatch Repair Deficient Colorectal Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic MSI-H or dMMR colorectal cancer (CRC).

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 (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.

Esophageal Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS 10) as determined by an FDA-approved test, with disease progression after one or more prior lines of systemic therapy.

Cervical Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer with disease progression on or after chemotherapy whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS 1) as determined by an FDA-approved test. 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.

Hepatocellular Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who have been previously treated with sorafenib. 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.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). 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.

Renal Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA, in combination with axitinib, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Tumor Mutational Burden-High

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with unresectable or metastatic tumor mutational burden-high (TMB-H) [10 mutations/megabase (mut/Mb)] solid tumors, as determined by an FDA-approved test, that have progressed following prior treatment and who have no satisfactory alternative treatment options. 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 TMB-H central nervous system cancers have not been established.

Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) that is not curable by surgery or radiation.

Selected Important Safety Information for KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab)

Immune-Mediated Pneumonitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated pneumonitis, including fatal cases. Pneumonitis occurred in 3.4% (94/2799) of patients with various cancers receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 1 (0.8%), 2 (1.3%), 3 (0.9%), 4 (0.3%), and 5 (0.1%). Pneumonitis occurred in 8.2% (65/790) of NSCLC patients receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent, including Grades 3-4 in 3.2% of patients, and occurred more frequently in patients with a history of prior thoracic radiation (17%) compared to those without (7.7%). Pneumonitis occurred in 6% (18/300) of HNSCC patients receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent, including Grades 3-5 in 1.6% of patients, and occurred in 5.4% (15/276) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with platinum and FU as first-line therapy for advanced disease, including Grades 3-5 in 1.5% of patients.

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.

Immune-Mediated Colitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated colitis. Colitis occurred in 1.7% (48/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.4%), 3 (1.1%), and 4 (<0.1%). 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.

Immune-Mediated Hepatitis (KEYTRUDA) and Hepatotoxicity (KEYTRUDA in Combination With Axitinib)

Immune-Mediated Hepatitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated hepatitis. Hepatitis occurred in 0.7% (19/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.4%), and 4 (<0.1%). 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.

Hepatotoxicity in Combination With Axitinib

KEYTRUDA in combination with axitinib can cause hepatic toxicity with higher than expected frequencies of Grades 3 and 4 ALT and AST elevations compared to KEYTRUDA alone. With the combination of KEYTRUDA and axitinib, Grades 3 and 4 increased ALT (20%) and increased AST (13%) were seen. Monitor liver enzymes before initiation of and periodically throughout treatment. Consider more frequent monitoring of liver enzymes as compared to when the drugs are administered as single agents. For elevated liver enzymes, interrupt KEYTRUDA and axitinib, and consider administering corticosteroids as needed.

Immune-Mediated Endocrinopathies

KEYTRUDA can cause adrenal insufficiency (primary and secondary), hypophysitis, thyroid disorders, and type 1 diabetes mellitus. Adrenal insufficiency occurred in 0.8% (22/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.3%), 3 (0.3%), and 4 (<0.1%). Hypophysitis occurred in 0.6% (17/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.2%), 3 (0.3%), and 4 (<0.1%). Hypothyroidism occurred in 8.5% (237/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (6.2%) and 3 (0.1%). The incidence of new or worsening hypothyroidism was higher in 1185 patients with HNSCC (16%) receiving KEYTRUDA, as a single agent or in combination with platinum and FU, including Grade 3 (0.3%) hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism occurred in 3.4% (96/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.8%) and 3 (0.1%), and thyroiditis occurred in 0.6% (16/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.3%). Type 1 diabetes mellitus, including diabetic ketoacidosis, occurred in 0.2% (6/2799) of patients.

Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency, hypophysitis (including hypopituitarism), thyroid function (prior to and periodically during treatment), and hyperglycemia. For adrenal insufficiency or hypophysitis, administer corticosteroids and hormone replacement as clinically indicated. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2 adrenal insufficiency or hypophysitis and withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or Grade 4 adrenal insufficiency or hypophysitis. Administer hormone replacement for hypothyroidism and manage hyperthyroidism with thionamides and beta-blockers as appropriate. Withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 hyperthyroidism. Administer insulin for type 1 diabetes, and withhold KEYTRUDA and administer antihyperglycemics in patients with severe hyperglycemia.

Immune-Mediated Nephritis and Renal Dysfunction

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated nephritis. Nephritis occurred in 0.3% (9/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.1%), and 4 (<0.1%) nephritis. Nephritis occurred in 1.7% (7/405) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy. Monitor patients for changes in renal function. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater nephritis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; permanently discontinue for Grade 3 or 4 nephritis.

Immune-Mediated Skin Reactions

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 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.

Other Immune-Mediated Adverse Reactions

Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can occur in any organ system or tissue in patients receiving KEYTRUDA and may also occur after discontinuation of treatment. 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-Barr syndrome, myasthenia gravis, vasculitis, pancreatitis, hemolytic anemia, sarcoidosis, and encephalitis. In addition, myelitis and myocarditis were reported in other clinical trials, including classical Hodgkin lymphoma, and postmarketing use.

Treatment with KEYTRUDA may increase the risk of rejection in solid organ transplant recipients. Consider the benefit of treatment vs the risk of possible organ rejection in these patients.

Infusion-Related Reactions

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

Complications of Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT)

Immune-mediated complications, including fatal events, occurred in patients who underwent allogeneic HSCT after treatment with KEYTRUDA. Of 23 patients with cHL who proceeded to allogeneic HSCT after KEYTRUDA, 6 (26%) developed graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) (1 fatal case) and 2 (9%) developed severe hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD) after reduced-intensity conditioning (1 fatal case). Cases of fatal hyperacute GVHD after allogeneic HSCT have also been reported in patients with lymphoma who received a PD-1 receptorblocking antibody before transplantation. Follow patients closely for early evidence of transplant-related complications such as hyperacute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), Grade 3 to 4 acute GVHD, steroid-requiring febrile syndrome, hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD), and other immune-mediated adverse reactions.

In patients with a history of allogeneic HSCT, acute GVHD (including fatal GVHD) has been reported after treatment with KEYTRUDA. Patients who experienced GVHD after their transplant procedure may be at increased risk for GVHD after KEYTRUDA. Consider the benefit of KEYTRUDA vs the risk of GVHD in these patients.

Increased Mortality in Patients With Multiple Myeloma

In 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 trials.

Embryofetal Toxicity

Based on its mechanism of action, KEYTRUDA can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Advise women of this potential risk. In females of reproductive potential, verify pregnancy status prior to initiating KEYTRUDA and advise them to use effective contraception during treatment and for 4 months after the last dose.

Adverse Reactions

In KEYNOTE-006, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 9% of 555 patients with advanced melanoma; adverse reactions leading to permanent 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%). The most common adverse reactions (20%) with KEYTRUDA were fatigue (28%), diarrhea (26%), rash (24%), and nausea (21%).

In KEYNOTE-002, KEYTRUDA was permanently discontinued due to adverse reactions in 12% of 357 patients with advanced melanoma; the most common (1%) were general physical health deterioration (1%), asthenia (1%), dyspnea (1%), pneumonitis (1%), and generalized edema (1%). The most common adverse reactions were fatigue (43%), pruritus (28%), rash (24%), constipation (22%), nausea (22%), diarrhea (20%), and decreased appetite (20%).

In KEYNOTE-054, KEYTRUDA was permanently discontinued due to adverse reactions in 14% of 509 patients; the most common (1%) were pneumonitis (1.4%), colitis (1.2%), and diarrhea (1%). Serious adverse reactions occurred in 25% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA. The most common adverse reaction (20%) with KEYTRUDA was diarrhea (28%).

In KEYNOTE-189, when KEYTRUDA was administered with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy in metastatic nonsquamous NSCLC, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 20% of 405 patients. The most common adverse reactions resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA were pneumonitis (3%) and acute kidney injury (2%). The most common adverse reactions (20%) with KEYTRUDA were nausea (56%), fatigue (56%), constipation (35%), diarrhea (31%), decreased appetite (28%), rash (25%), vomiting (24%), cough (21%), dyspnea (21%), and pyrexia (20%).

In KEYNOTE-407, when KEYTRUDA was administered with carboplatin and either paclitaxel or paclitaxel protein-bound in metastatic squamous NSCLC, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 15% of 101 patients. The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported in at least 2% of patients were febrile neutropenia, pneumonia, and urinary tract infection. Adverse reactions observed in KEYNOTE-407 were similar to those observed in KEYNOTE-189 with the exception that increased incidences of alopecia (47% vs 36%) and peripheral neuropathy (31% vs 25%) were observed in the KEYTRUDA and chemotherapy arm compared to the placebo and chemotherapy arm in KEYNOTE-407.

In KEYNOTE-042, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 19% of 636 patients with advanced NSCLC; the most common were pneumonitis (3%), death due to unknown cause (1.6%), and pneumonia (1.4%). The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported in at least 2% of patients were pneumonia (7%), pneumonitis (3.9%), pulmonary embolism (2.4%), and pleural effusion (2.2%). The most common adverse reaction (20%) was fatigue (25%).

In KEYNOTE-010, KEYTRUDA monotherapy was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8% of 682 patients with metastatic NSCLC; the most common was pneumonitis (1.8%). The most common adverse reactions (20%) were decreased appetite (25%), fatigue (25%), dyspnea (23%), and nausea (20%).

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with SCLC were similar to those occurring in patients with other solid tumors who received KEYTRUDA as a single agent.

In KEYNOTE-048, KEYTRUDA monotherapy was discontinued due to adverse events in 12% of 300 patients with HNSCC; the most common adverse reactions leading to permanent discontinuation were sepsis (1.7%) and pneumonia (1.3%). The most common adverse reactions (20%) were fatigue (33%), constipation (20%), and rash (20%).

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First-Line Treatment With Merck's KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) Doubled Five-Year Survival Rate (31.9%) Versus Chemotherapy (16.3%) in Certain Patients...

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Merck Presents Promising New Data for Three Investigational Medicines From Diverse and Expansive Oncology Pipeline at ESMO Virtual Congress 2020 -…

By daniellenierenberg

Sept. 20, 2020 14:20 UTC

KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced the presentation of new data for three investigational medicines in Mercks diverse and expansive oncology pipeline: vibostolimab (MK-7684), an anti-TIGIT therapy; MK-4830, a first-in-class anti-ILT4 therapy; and MK-6482, an oral HIF-2 inhibitor. Data from cohort expansions of a Phase 1b trial evaluating vibostolimab, as monotherapy and in combination with KEYTRUDA, Mercks anti-PD-1 therapy, in patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC; Abstract #1410P and Abstract #1400P), and first-time Phase 1 data for MK-4830 in patients with advanced solid tumors (Abstract #524O), demonstrated acceptable safety profiles for these two investigational medicines and early signals of anti-tumor activity. Additionally, late-breaking Phase 2 data for MK-6482 showed anti-tumor responses in von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease patients with clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and other tumors (Abstract #LBA26).

The new data for these three investigational medicines are encouraging and highlight continued momentum in our rapidly expanding oncology pipeline, Dr. Eric H. Rubin, senior vice president, early-stage development, clinical oncology, Merck Research Laboratories. Over the past five years, KEYTRUDA has become foundational in the treatment of certain advanced cancers. Our broad oncology portfolio and promising pipeline candidates are a testament to our commitment to bring forward innovative new medicines to address unmet medical needs in cancer care.

Vibostolimab (Anti-TIGIT Therapy): Early Findings in Metastatic NSCLC (Abstract #1410P and Abstract #1400P)

Vibostolimab in combination with KEYTRUDA was evaluated in patients with metastatic NSCLC who had not previously received antiPD-1/PD-L1 therapy, but the majority of whom had received >1 prior lines of therapy (73%, n=30/41) in Abstract #1410P. In Part B of the first-in-human, open-label, Phase 1 trial (NCT02964013) all patients received vibostolimab (200 or 210 mg) in combination with KEYTRUDA (200 mg) on Day 1 of each three-week cycle for up to 35 cycles. The primary endpoints of the study were safety and tolerability. Secondary endpoints included objective response rate (ORR), duration of response (DOR) and progression-free survival (PFS) based on investigator review per RECIST v1.1. In this anti-PD-1/PD-L1 nave study, vibostolimab in combination with KEYTRUDA had a manageable safety profile and demonstrated promising anti-tumor activity. Treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) with vibostolimab in combination with KEYTRUDA occurred in 34 patients (83%). The most frequent TRAEs (20%) were pruritus (34%), hypoalbuminemia (29%) and pyrexia (20%). Grade 3-5 TRAEs occurred in six patients (15%). No deaths due to TRAEs occurred. Across all patients enrolled, treatment with vibostolimab in combination with KEYTRUDA demonstrated an ORR of 29% (95% CI, 16-46) and median PFS was 5.4 months (95% CI, 2.1-8.2). The median DOR was not reached (range, 4 to 17+ months). Among patients whose tumors express PD-L1 (tumor proportion score [TPS] 1%) (n=13), the ORR was 46% (95% CI, 19-75) and median PFS was 8.4 months (95% CI, 3.9-10.2). Among patients whose tumors express PD-L1 (TPS <1%) (n=12), the ORR was 25% (95% CI, 6-57), and median PFS was 4.1 months (95% CI, 1.9-not reached [NR]). PD-L1 status was not available for 16 patients. Median follow-up for the study was 11 months (range, 7 to 18).

Additional data from a separate cohort of the same Phase 1b trial evaluated vibostolimab as monotherapy (n=41) and in combination with KEYTRUDA (n=38) in patients with metastatic NSCLC whose disease progressed on prior anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy (Abstract #1400P). In the study, 78% of patients had received >2 lines of prior therapy. In the study, patients received vibostolimab monotherapy (200 or 210 mg) or vibostolimab (200 or 210 mg) in combination with KEYTRUDA (200 mg) on Day 1 of each three-week cycle for up to 35 cycles. The primary endpoints of the study were safety and tolerability. Secondary endpoints included ORR and DOR. Vibostolimab as monotherapy or in combination with KEYTRUDA had a manageable safety profile and demonstrated modest anti-tumor activity in patients whose disease was refractory to PD-1/PD-L1 inhibition, most of whom had previously received several lines of therapy for advanced disease prior to enrollment. Grade 3-5 TRAEs occurred in 15% of patients receiving vibostolimab monotherapy and 13% of patients receiving vibostolimab in combination with KEYTRUDA. The most common TRAEs (10% in either arm) were pruritus, fatigue, rash, arthralgia and decreased appetite. One patient died due to treatment-related pneumonitis in the vibostolimab and KEYTRUDA combination arm. The ORR was 7% (95% CI, 2-20) with vibostolimab monotherapy and 5% (95% CI, <1-18) with vibostolimab in combination with KEYTRUDA. The median DOR was 9 months (range, 9 to 9) with vibostolimab monotherapy and 13 months (range, 4+ to 13) with vibostolimab in combination with KEYTRUDA.

Data from these cohort expansion studies are encouraging and support the continued development of vibostolimab, which is being evaluated alone and in combination with KEYTRUDA across multiple solid tumors, including NSCLC and melanoma. In the ongoing Phase 2 KEYNOTE-U01 umbrella study (NCT04165798), substudy KEYNOTE-01A (NCT04165070) is evaluating vibostolimab in combination with KEYTRUDA plus chemotherapy for the first-line treatment of patients with advanced NSCLC who had not received prior treatment with an anti-PD-1/PD-L1. Merck plans to initiate a Phase 3 study of vibostolimab in NSCLC in the first half of 2021. Ongoing trials in melanoma include the Phase 1/2 KEYNOTE-U02 umbrella study comprised of three substudies evaluating vibostolimab in combination with KEYTRUDA across treatment settings (substudy 02A: NCT04305041, substudy 02B: NCT04305054 and substudy 02C: NCT04303169).

MK-4830 (Anti-ILT4 Therapy): Initial Results in Advanced Solid Tumors (Abstract #524O)

In this first-in-human Phase 1, open-label, multi-arm, multi-center, dose escalation study (NCT03564691), MK-4830, Mercks first-in-class anti-ILT4 therapy, was evaluated as monotherapy (n=50) and in combination with KEYTRUDA (n=34) in patients with advanced solid tumors. The majority of patients enrolled in the study (51%) had received three or more prior lines of therapy. MK-4830 was administered intravenously at escalating doses every three weeks alone or in combination with KEYTRUDA (200 mg every three weeks). The primary endpoints of the dose escalation part of the study were safety and tolerability; Pharmacokinetics was a secondary endpoint, and exploratory objectives included ORR per RECIST v1.1, evaluation of receptor occupancy and immune correlates of response in blood and tumor.

Findings showed that MK-4830 as monotherapy and in combination with KEYTRUDA had an acceptable safety profile and demonstrated dose-related evidence of target engagement in patients with advanced solid tumors. No dose-limiting toxicities were observed; the maximum-tolerated dose was not reached. Any-grade adverse events were consistent with those associated with KEYTRUDA. Treatment-related AEs occurred in 54% (n=28/52) of patients who received MK-4830 in combination with KEYTRUDA and 48% (n=24/50) of patients who received MK-4830 monotherapy; the majority were Grade 1 and 2. Preliminary efficacy data showed an ORR of 24% (n=8/34) in patients who received MK-4830 in combination with KEYTRUDA. All responses occurred in heavily pretreated patients, including five who had progressed on prior anti-PD-1 therapy (n=5/11). Some patients received more than one year of treatment, and treatment is ongoing in several patients.

These early data support the continued development of MK-4830 in combination with KEYTRUDA in patients with advanced solid tumors. Expansion cohorts of this study include pancreatic adenocarcinoma, glioblastoma, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (recurrent or metastatic; PD-L1 positive), advanced NSCLC and gastric cancer.

MK-6482 (HIF-2 Inhibitor): Results in VHL-Associated RCC and Non-RCC Tumors (Abstract #LBA26)

In this Phase 2, open-label, single-arm trial, MK-6482 was evaluated for the treatment of VHL-associated RCC (NCT03401788). New data include findings for MK-6482 in VHL patients with non-RCC tumors and updated data in VHL patients with RCC. First-time data in VHL-associated RCC were presented in the virtual scientific program of the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. The study enrolled adult patients with a pathogenic germline VHL variation, measurable localized or non-metastatic RCC, no prior systemic anti-cancer therapy, and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status (PS) of 0 or 1. Patients received MK-6482 120 mg orally once daily until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or investigators or patients decision to withdraw. The primary endpoint was ORR of VHL-associated RCC tumors per RECIST v1.1 by independent radiology review. Secondary endpoints included DOR, time to response, PFS, efficacy in non-RCC tumors, and safety and tolerability.

Promising clinical activity continues to be observed with MK-6482 in treatment-nave patients with VHL-associated RCC. Among 61 patients, results showed a confirmed ORR of 36.1% (95% CI, 24.2-49.4); all responses were partial responses, and 38% of patients had stable disease. The median time to response was 31.1 weeks (range, 11.9 to 62.3), and median DOR was not yet reached (range, 11.9 to 62.3 weeks). Additionally, 91.8% (n=56) of patients had a decrease in size of target lesions. Median PFS has not been reached, and the PFS rate at 52 weeks was 98.3%. Median duration of treatment was 68.7 weeks (range, 18.3 to 104.7), and 91.8% of patients were still on therapy after a minimum follow-up of 60 weeks.

In patients with non-RCC tumors, results in those with pancreatic lesions (n=61) showed a confirmed ORR of 63.9% (95% CI, 50.6-75.8), with four complete responses and 35 partial responses. Additionally, 34.4% had stable disease. In those with central nervous system (CNS) hemangioblastoma (n=43), results showed a confirmed ORR of 30.2% (95% CI, 17.2-46.1), with five complete responses and eight partial responses. Additionally, 65.1% had stable disease. In patients with retinal lesions (n=16), 93.8% of patients had improved or stable response.

In this Phase 2 study, TRAEs occurred in 98.4% of patients, and there were no Grade 4-5 TRAEs. The most common all-cause adverse events (20%) were anemia (90.2%), fatigue (60.7%), headache (37.7%), dizziness (36.1%) and nausea (31.1%). Grade 3 all-cause adverse events included anemia (6.6%), fatigue (4.9%) and dyspnea (1.6%). One patient discontinued treatment due to a TRAE (Grade 1 dizziness).

As announced, data spanning more than 15 types of cancer will be presented from Mercks broad oncology portfolio and investigational pipeline at the congress. A compendium of presentations and posters of Merck-led studies is available here. Follow Merck on Twitter via @Merck and keep up to date with ESMO news and updates by using the hashtag #ESMO20.

About Vibostolimab

Vibostolimab is an anti-TIGIT therapy discovered and developed by Merck. Vibostolimab binds to TIGIT and blocks the interaction between TIGIT and its ligands (CD112 and CD155), thereby activating T lymphocytes which help to destroy tumor cells. The effect of combining KEYTRUDA with vibostolimab blocking both the TIGIT and PD-1 pathways simultaneously is currently being evaluated across multiple solid tumors, including NSCLC and melanoma.

About MK-4830

MK-4830 is a novel antibody directed against the inhibitory immune checkpoint receptor immunoglobulin-like transcript 4 (ILT4). Unlike current T cell-targeted antibodies (e.g., anti-PD1, anti-CTLA-4), anti-ILT4 is believed to attenuate immunosuppression imposed by tolerogenic myeloid cells in the tumor microenvironment. MK-4830 is currently being evaluated alone and in combination with KEYTRUDA across multiple solid tumors as part of ongoing Phase 1 and 2 trials.

About MK-6482

MK-6482 is an investigational, novel, potent, selective, oral HIF-2 inhibitor that is currently being evaluated in a Phase 3 trial in advanced RCC (NCT04195750), a Phase 2 trial in VHL-associated RCC (NCT03401788), and a Phase 1/2 dose-escalation and dose-expansion trial in advanced solid tumors, including advanced RCC (NCT02974738). Proteins known as hypoxia-inducible factors, including HIF-2, can accumulate in patients when VHL, a tumor-suppressor protein, is inactivated. The accumulation of HIF-2 can lead to the formation of both benign and malignant tumors. This inactivation of VHL has been observed in more than 90% of RCC tumors. Research into VHL biology that led to the discovery of HIF-2 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2019.

About KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) Injection, 100 mg

KEYTRUDA is an anti-PD-1 therapy that works by increasing the ability of the bodys 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.

Merck has the industrys largest immuno-oncology clinical research program. There are currently more than 1,200 trials studying KEYTRUDA across a wide variety of cancers and treatment settings. The KEYTRUDA clinical program seeks to understand the role of KEYTRUDA across cancers and the factors that may predict a patient's likelihood of benefitting from treatment with KEYTRUDA, including exploring several different biomarkers.

Selected KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) Indications

Melanoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the adjuvant treatment of patients with melanoma with involvement of lymph node(s) following complete resection.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations.

KEYTRUDA, in combination with carboplatin and either paclitaxel or paclitaxel protein-bound, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic squamous NSCLC.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with NSCLC expressing PD-L1 [tumor proportion score (TPS) 1%] as determined by an FDA-approved test, with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations, and is stage III where patients are not candidates for surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation, or metastatic.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is 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.

Small Cell Lung Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with metastatic small cell lung cancer (SCLC) with disease progression on or after platinum-based chemotherapy and at least 1 other prior line 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 confirmatory trials.

Head and Neck Squamous Cell Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with platinum and fluorouracil (FU), is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or with unresectable, recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or with unresectable, recurrent HNSCC whose tumors express PD-L1 [combined positive score (CPS) 1] as determined by an FDA-approved test.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, 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.

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 3 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.

Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with refractory primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL), or who have relapsed after 2 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 confirmatory trials. KEYTRUDA is not recommended for treatment of patients with PMBCL who require urgent cytoreductive therapy.

Urothelial Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) who are not eligible for cisplatin-containing chemotherapy and whose tumors express PD-L1 [combined positive score (CPS) 10], as determined by an FDA-approved test, or in patients who are not eligible for any platinum-containing chemotherapy regardless of PD-L1 status. 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 confirmatory trials.

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

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG)-unresponsive, high-risk, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) with carcinoma in situ (CIS) with or without papillary tumors who are ineligible for or have elected not to undergo cystectomy.

Microsatellite Instability-High or Mismatch Repair Deficient 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)

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.

Microsatellite Instability-High or Mismatch Repair Deficient Colorectal Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic MSI-H or dMMR colorectal cancer (CRC).

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 (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.

Esophageal Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS 10) as determined by an FDA-approved test, with disease progression after one or more prior lines of systemic therapy.

Cervical Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer with disease progression on or after chemotherapy whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS 1) as determined by an FDA-approved test. 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.

Hepatocellular Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who have been previously treated with sorafenib. 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.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). 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.

Renal Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA, in combination with axitinib, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Tumor Mutational Burden-High

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with unresectable or metastatic tumor mutational burden-high (TMB-H) [10 mutations/megabase (mut/Mb)] solid tumors, as determined by an FDA-approved test, that have progressed following prior treatment and who have no satisfactory alternative treatment options. 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 TMB-H central nervous system cancers have not been established.

Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) that is not curable by surgery or radiation.

Selected Important Safety Information for KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab)

Immune-Mediated Pneumonitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated pneumonitis, including fatal cases. Pneumonitis occurred in 3.4% (94/2799) of patients with various cancers receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 1 (0.8%), 2 (1.3%), 3 (0.9%), 4 (0.3%), and 5 (0.1%). Pneumonitis occurred in 8.2% (65/790) of NSCLC patients receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent, including Grades 3-4 in 3.2% of patients, and occurred more frequently in patients with a history of prior thoracic radiation (17%) compared to those without (7.7%). Pneumonitis occurred in 6% (18/300) of HNSCC patients receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent, including Grades 3-5 in 1.6% of patients, and occurred in 5.4% (15/276) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with platinum and FU as first-line therapy for advanced disease, including Grades 3-5 in 1.5% of patients.

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.

Immune-Mediated Colitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated colitis. Colitis occurred in 1.7% (48/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.4%), 3 (1.1%), and 4 (<0.1%). 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.

Immune-Mediated Hepatitis (KEYTRUDA) and Hepatotoxicity (KEYTRUDA in Combination With Axitinib)

Immune-Mediated Hepatitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated hepatitis. Hepatitis occurred in 0.7% (19/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.4%), and 4 (<0.1%). 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.

Hepatotoxicity in Combination With Axitinib

KEYTRUDA in combination with axitinib can cause hepatic toxicity with higher than expected frequencies of Grades 3 and 4 ALT and AST elevations compared to KEYTRUDA alone. With the combination of KEYTRUDA and axitinib, Grades 3 and 4 increased ALT (20%) and increased AST (13%) were seen. Monitor liver enzymes before initiation of and periodically throughout treatment. Consider more frequent monitoring of liver enzymes as compared to when the drugs are administered as single agents. For elevated liver enzymes, interrupt KEYTRUDA and axitinib, and consider administering corticosteroids as needed.

Immune-Mediated Endocrinopathies

KEYTRUDA can cause adrenal insufficiency (primary and secondary), hypophysitis, thyroid disorders, and type 1 diabetes mellitus. Adrenal insufficiency occurred in 0.8% (22/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.3%), 3 (0.3%), and 4 (<0.1%). Hypophysitis occurred in 0.6% (17/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.2%), 3 (0.3%), and 4 (<0.1%). Hypothyroidism occurred in 8.5% (237/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (6.2%) and 3 (0.1%). The incidence of new or worsening hypothyroidism was higher in 1185 patients with HNSCC (16%) receiving KEYTRUDA, as a single agent or in combination with platinum and FU, including Grade 3 (0.3%) hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism occurred in 3.4% (96/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.8%) and 3 (0.1%), and thyroiditis occurred in 0.6% (16/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.3%). Type 1 diabetes mellitus, including diabetic ketoacidosis, occurred in 0.2% (6/2799) of patients.

Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency, hypophysitis (including hypopituitarism), thyroid function (prior to and periodically during treatment), and hyperglycemia. For adrenal insufficiency or hypophysitis, administer corticosteroids and hormone replacement as clinically indicated. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2 adrenal insufficiency or hypophysitis and withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or Grade 4 adrenal insufficiency or hypophysitis. Administer hormone replacement for hypothyroidism and manage hyperthyroidism with thionamides and beta-blockers as appropriate. Withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 hyperthyroidism. Administer insulin for type 1 diabetes, and withhold KEYTRUDA and administer antihyperglycemics in patients with severe hyperglycemia.

Immune-Mediated Nephritis and Renal Dysfunction

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated nephritis. Nephritis occurred in 0.3% (9/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.1%), and 4 (<0.1%) nephritis. Nephritis occurred in 1.7% (7/405) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy. Monitor patients for changes in renal function. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater nephritis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; permanently discontinue for Grade 3 or 4 nephritis.

Immune-Mediated Skin Reactions

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 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.

Other Immune-Mediated Adverse Reactions

Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can occur in any organ system or tissue in patients receiving KEYTRUDA and may also occur after discontinuation of treatment. 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-Barr syndrome, myasthenia gravis, vasculitis, pancreatitis, hemolytic anemia, sarcoidosis, and encephalitis. In addition, myelitis and myocarditis were reported in other clinical trials, including classical Hodgkin lymphoma, and postmarketing use.

Treatment with KEYTRUDA may increase the risk of rejection in solid organ transplant recipients. Consider the benefit of treatment vs the risk of possible organ rejection in these patients.

Infusion-Related Reactions

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

Complications of Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT)

Immune-mediated complications, including fatal events, occurred in patients who underwent allogeneic HSCT after treatment with KEYTRUDA. Of 23 patients with cHL who proceeded to allogeneic HSCT after KEYTRUDA, 6 (26%) developed graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) (1 fatal case) and 2 (9%) developed severe hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD) after reduced-intensity conditioning (1 fatal case). Cases of fatal hyperacute GVHD after allogeneic HSCT have also been reported in patients with lymphoma who received a PD-1 receptorblocking antibody before transplantation. Follow patients closely for early evidence of transplant-related complications such as hyperacute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), Grade 3 to 4 acute GVHD, steroid-requiring febrile syndrome, hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD), and other immune-mediated adverse reactions.

In patients with a history of allogeneic HSCT, acute GVHD (including fatal GVHD) has been reported after treatment with KEYTRUDA. Patients who experienced GVHD after their transplant procedure may be at increased risk for GVHD after KEYTRUDA. Consider the benefit of KEYTRUDA vs the risk of GVHD in these patients.

Increased Mortality in Patients With Multiple Myeloma

In 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 trials.

Embryofetal Toxicity

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Merck Presents Promising New Data for Three Investigational Medicines From Diverse and Expansive Oncology Pipeline at ESMO Virtual Congress 2020 -...

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James T. Willerson, Revered Clinician, Editor, and Mentor, Dies at 81 – TCTMD

By daniellenierenberg

Esteemed cardiologist James T. Willerson, MD, of the Texas Heart Institute, who pioneered research in unstable atherosclerotic plaques and was the longest-serving editor of Circulation, died after a long illness on September 16, 2020, at age 81.

It's very easy to find his scientific contributions, which have been countless, said longtime friend and colleague Mohammad Madjid, MD (University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston). But if you knew him and saw how he worked, the thing that really stood out was how compassionate and genuine he was with his patients. He had an amazing rapport with them, and they knew he meant it when he said he was only one phone call away from them, 24-7, Madjid added. Over all the years that I knew him, I never saw him getting angry. He had a cool, gentle manner even under the most serious of circumstances.

Paul Ridker, MD (Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA), told TCTMD Willerson will be greatly missed.

Jim Willersons reach and influence were simply exceptional, he said. Early in my career, Jim reached out and was both supportive and inspirational. Over the years he became a friend and treasured research colleague.

Renu Virmani, MD (CVPath Institute, Gaithersburg, MD), said she got to know Willerson through his passion to advance the field of atherosclerosis and his desire to figure out how to predict future cardiac events so as to treat them before catastrophe occurred.

"While editor of Circulation, he encouraged everyone involved in research in this area, and I was one of the lucky ones whose career benefited from his passion, his curiosity, and his mentorship. I will always remember him as among the kindest and most humble leaders in our field," she said in an email. "His foresight did so much to advance knowledge in that field and I am deeply saddened by his passing."

In 2005, Willerson was the recipient of the TCT Career Achievement Award. Jim Willerson was a towering figure in medicine, Martin B. Leon, MD (NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY), TCTs founder and director, told TCTMD. He had a legendary work ethic, set new standards as editor-in-chief of Circulation, and always reverted to his patient-centered origins as a revered clinician. Jim was soft-spoken and extremely humble, which belied his raging intellect, thirst for knowledge, and commitment to excellence. He will be remembered as a true giant in cardiology, setting the stage for the modern era.

Gregg W. Stone, MD (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY), also a TCT director, called Willerson one of the true giants of medicine, as well as the consummate scientist, educator, editor, academician and caregiver.

He was also a warm person, inherently humble, but knew when to be outspoken and motivated generations of cardiologists. He will be greatly missed but always remembered, Stone remarked.

A Texas-Sized Life

Willerson was born on the edge of the Texas Hill Country in Lampasas to parents who were both physicians. He attended school in San Antonio and Austin before receiving his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. A championship swimmer in his college days, Willerson has a swimming scholarship named in his honor at his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin.

In an interview published in 2018 in the European Heart Journal, he explained that a meeting arranged by his mother when he was just 14 years old, with the renowned cardiovascular surgeon Denton Cooley, MD, changed the arc of his life. Rather than a quick hello, Willerson recalled that the two spent 30 minutes speaking about Willersons interest in becoming a physician. The meeting was the start of an enduring friendship and collaboration with Cooley, who founded the Texas Heart Institute (THI) and performed the first successful artificial heart transplantation there in 1969. When Cooley stepped aside as president of THI at age 86, he chose Willerson to take the job. Willerson continued on, serving as president emeritus until his death.

He was the best role model that anyone could have, and the most lovable human you could ever want to be around. Mohammad Madjid

For many years, Madjid said, Willerson and Cooley worked in offices next-door to each other, remaining close until Cooleys death in 2016.

Throughout his long career, Willerson pioneered research on the detection and treatment of vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques, as well as genes and abnormal proteins. As a result of his research, he was awarded 15 patents, and his institution became the site of the first US Food and Drug Administration-approved trial of human stem cells to treat ischemic cardiomyopathies and congestive HF. Over his career, he published an estimated 1,000 scientific papers and wrote one of the first textbooks on nuclear cardiology.

Juan Granada, MD, CEO of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF), who spent time as a fellow at THI and worked closely with Willerson, said they shared an interest in vulnerable plaque research and vascular imaging.

He was very entrepreneurial, very innovative, and one of the hardest working people that I ever met in my life, Granada noted. He recalled that during Willersons long tenure as editor of Circulation, he would often personally contact authors to sort through problems that cropped up during the review process.

This is essentially unheard of nowadays, but he would actually call you on the phone and say, Hey, I got this comment. Lets talk it through. He was amazing and unique in what he did, and he was a beautiful, caring person on top of it, Granada added.

To TCTMD, Madjid said of his mentor, He had my back through everything. When I was down, he was there. When I needed help or to talk, he was always there. He was the best role model that anyone could have, and the most lovable human you could ever want to be around.

Following the Texas Heart Institutes announcement of Willersons death, colleagues and friends took to Twitter to share their memories.

Photo Credit: Mohammad Madjid

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Merck Presents Promising New Data for Three Investigational Medicines From Diverse and Expansive Oncology Pipeline at ESMO Virtual Congress 2020 – The…

By daniellenierenberg

KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep 20, 2020--

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced the presentation of new data for three investigational medicines in Mercks diverse and expansive oncology pipeline: vibostolimab (MK-7684), an anti-TIGIT therapy; MK-4830, a first-in-class anti-ILT4 therapy; and MK-6482, an oral HIF-2 inhibitor. Data from cohort expansions of a Phase 1b trial evaluating vibostolimab, as monotherapy and in combination with KEYTRUDA, Mercks anti-PD-1 therapy, in patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC; Abstract #1410P and Abstract #1400P), and first-time Phase 1 data for MK-4830 in patients with advanced solid tumors (Abstract #524O), demonstrated acceptable safety profiles for these two investigational medicines and early signals of anti-tumor activity. Additionally, late-breaking Phase 2 data for MK-6482 showed anti-tumor responses in von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease patients with clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and other tumors (Abstract #LBA26).

The new data for these three investigational medicines are encouraging and highlight continued momentum in our rapidly expanding oncology pipeline, Dr. Eric H. Rubin, senior vice president, early-stage development, clinical oncology, Merck Research Laboratories. Over the past five years, KEYTRUDA has become foundational in the treatment of certain advanced cancers. Our broad oncology portfolio and promising pipeline candidates are a testament to our commitment to bring forward innovative new medicines to address unmet medical needs in cancer care.

Vibostolimab (Anti-TIGIT Therapy): Early Findings in Metastatic NSCLC (Abstract #1410P and Abstract #1400P)

Vibostolimab in combination with KEYTRUDA was evaluated in patients with metastatic NSCLC who had not previously received antiPD-1/PD-L1 therapy, but the majority of whom had received > 1 prior lines of therapy (73%, n=30/41) in Abstract #1410P. In Part B of the first-in-human, open-label, Phase 1 trial ( NCT02964013 ) all patients received vibostolimab (200 or 210 mg) in combination with KEYTRUDA (200 mg) on Day 1 of each three-week cycle for up to 35 cycles. The primary endpoints of the study were safety and tolerability. Secondary endpoints included objective response rate (ORR), duration of response (DOR) and progression-free survival (PFS) based on investigator review per RECIST v1.1. In this anti-PD-1/PD-L1 nave study, vibostolimab in combination with KEYTRUDA had a manageable safety profile and demonstrated promising anti-tumor activity. Treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) with vibostolimab in combination with KEYTRUDA occurred in 34 patients (83%). The most frequent TRAEs (20%) were pruritus (34%), hypoalbuminemia (29%) and pyrexia (20%). Grade 3-5 TRAEs occurred in six patients (15%). No deaths due to TRAEs occurred. Across all patients enrolled, treatment with vibostolimab in combination with KEYTRUDA demonstrated an ORR of 29% (95% CI, 16-46) and median PFS was 5.4 months (95% CI, 2.1-8.2). The median DOR was not reached (range, 4 to 17+ months). Among patients whose tumors express PD-L1 (tumor proportion score [TPS] 1%) (n=13), the ORR was 46% (95% CI, 19-75) and median PFS was 8.4 months (95% CI, 3.9-10.2). Among patients whose tumors express PD-L1 (TPS <1%) (n=12), the ORR was 25% (95% CI, 6-57), and median PFS was 4.1 months (95% CI, 1.9-not reached [NR]). PD-L1 status was not available for 16 patients. Median follow-up for the study was 11 months (range, 7 to 18).

Additional data from a separate cohort of the same Phase 1b trial evaluated vibostolimab as monotherapy (n=41) and in combination with KEYTRUDA (n=38) in patients with metastatic NSCLC whose disease progressed on prior anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy (Abstract #1400P). In the study, 78% of patients had received > 2 lines of prior therapy. In the study, patients received vibostolimab monotherapy (200 or 210 mg) or vibostolimab (200 or 210 mg) in combination with KEYTRUDA (200 mg) on Day 1 of each three-week cycle for up to 35 cycles. The primary endpoints of the study were safety and tolerability. Secondary endpoints included ORR and DOR. Vibostolimab as monotherapy or in combination with KEYTRUDA had a manageable safety profile and demonstrated modest anti-tumor activity in patients whose disease was refractory to PD-1/PD-L1 inhibition, most of whom had previously received several lines of therapy for advanced disease prior to enrollment. Grade 3-5 TRAEs occurred in 15% of patients receiving vibostolimab monotherapy and 13% of patients receiving vibostolimab in combination with KEYTRUDA. The most common TRAEs (10% in either arm) were pruritus, fatigue, rash, arthralgia and decreased appetite. One patient died due to treatment-related pneumonitis in the vibostolimab and KEYTRUDA combination arm. The ORR was 7% (95% CI, 2-20) with vibostolimab monotherapy and 5% (95% CI, <1-18) with vibostolimab in combination with KEYTRUDA. The median DOR was 9 months (range, 9 to 9) with vibostolimab monotherapy and 13 months (range, 4+ to 13) with vibostolimab in combination with KEYTRUDA.

Data from these cohort expansion studies are encouraging and support the continued development of vibostolimab, which is being evaluated alone and in combination with KEYTRUDA across multiple solid tumors, including NSCLC and melanoma. In the ongoing Phase 2 KEYNOTE-U01 umbrella study ( NCT04165798 ), substudy KEYNOTE-01A ( NCT04165070 ) is evaluating vibostolimab in combination with KEYTRUDA plus chemotherapy for the first-line treatment of patients with advanced NSCLC who had not received prior treatment with an anti-PD-1/PD-L1. Merck plans to initiate a Phase 3 study of vibostolimab in NSCLC in the first half of 2021. Ongoing trials in melanoma include the Phase 1/2 KEYNOTE-U02 umbrella study comprised of three substudies evaluating vibostolimab in combination with KEYTRUDA across treatment settings (substudy 02A: NCT04305041, substudy 02B: NCT04305054 and substudy 02C: NCT04303169 ).

MK-4830 (Anti-ILT4 Therapy): Initial Results in Advanced Solid Tumors (Abstract #524O)

In this first-in-human Phase 1, open-label, multi-arm, multi-center, dose escalation study ( NCT03564691 ), MK-4830, Mercks first-in-class anti-ILT4 therapy, was evaluated as monotherapy (n=50) and in combination with KEYTRUDA (n=34) in patients with advanced solid tumors. The majority of patients enrolled in the study (51%) had received three or more prior lines of therapy. MK-4830 was administered intravenously at escalating doses every three weeks alone or in combination with KEYTRUDA (200 mg every three weeks). The primary endpoints of the dose escalation part of the study were safety and tolerability; Pharmacokinetics was a secondary endpoint, and exploratory objectives included ORR per RECIST v1.1, evaluation of receptor occupancy and immune correlates of response in blood and tumor.

Findings showed that MK-4830 as monotherapy and in combination with KEYTRUDA had an acceptable safety profile and demonstrated dose-related evidence of target engagement in patients with advanced solid tumors. No dose-limiting toxicities were observed; the maximum-tolerated dose was not reached. Any-grade adverse events were consistent with those associated with KEYTRUDA. Treatment-related AEs occurred in 54% (n=28/52) of patients who received MK-4830 in combination with KEYTRUDA and 48% (n=24/50) of patients who received MK-4830 monotherapy; the majority were Grade 1 and 2. Preliminary efficacy data showed an ORR of 24% (n=8/34) in patients who received MK-4830 in combination with KEYTRUDA. All responses occurred in heavily pretreated patients, including five who had progressed on prior anti-PD-1 therapy (n=5/11). Some patients received more than one year of treatment, and treatment is ongoing in several patients.

These early data support the continued development of MK-4830 in combination with KEYTRUDA in patients with advanced solid tumors. Expansion cohorts of this study include pancreatic adenocarcinoma, glioblastoma, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (recurrent or metastatic; PD-L1 positive), advanced NSCLC and gastric cancer.

MK-6482 (HIF-2 Inhibitor): Results in VHL-Associated RCC and Non-RCC Tumors (Abstract #LBA26)

In this Phase 2, open-label, single-arm trial, MK-6482 was evaluated for the treatment of VHL-associated RCC ( NCT03401788 ). New data include findings for MK-6482 in VHL patients with non-RCC tumors and updated data in VHL patients with RCC. First-time data in VHL-associated RCC were presented in the virtual scientific program of the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. The study enrolled adult patients with a pathogenic germline VHL variation, measurable localized or non-metastatic RCC, no prior systemic anti-cancer therapy, and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status (PS) of 0 or 1. Patients received MK-6482 120 mg orally once daily until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or investigators or patients decision to withdraw. The primary endpoint was ORR of VHL-associated RCC tumors per RECIST v1.1 by independent radiology review. Secondary endpoints included DOR, time to response, PFS, efficacy in non-RCC tumors, and safety and tolerability.

Promising clinical activity continues to be observed with MK-6482 in treatment-nave patients with VHL-associated RCC. Among 61 patients, results showed a confirmed ORR of 36.1% (95% CI, 24.2-49.4); all responses were partial responses, and 38% of patients had stable disease. The median time to response was 31.1 weeks (range, 11.9 to 62.3), and median DOR was not yet reached (range, 11.9 to 62.3 weeks). Additionally, 91.8% (n=56) of patients had a decrease in size of target lesions. Median PFS has not been reached, and the PFS rate at 52 weeks was 98.3%. Median duration of treatment was 68.7 weeks (range, 18.3 to 104.7), and 91.8% of patients were still on therapy after a minimum follow-up of 60 weeks.

In patients with non-RCC tumors, results in those with pancreatic lesions (n=61) showed a confirmed ORR of 63.9% (95% CI, 50.6-75.8), with four complete responses and 35 partial responses. Additionally, 34.4% had stable disease. In those with central nervous system (CNS) hemangioblastoma (n=43), results showed a confirmed ORR of 30.2% (95% CI, 17.2-46.1), with five complete responses and eight partial responses. Additionally, 65.1% had stable disease. In patients with retinal lesions (n=16), 93.8% of patients had improved or stable response.

In this Phase 2 study, TRAEs occurred in 98.4% of patients, and there were no Grade 4-5 TRAEs. The most common all-cause adverse events (20%) were anemia (90.2%), fatigue (60.7%), headache (37.7%), dizziness (36.1%) and nausea (31.1%). Grade 3 all-cause adverse events included anemia (6.6%), fatigue (4.9%) and dyspnea (1.6%). One patient discontinued treatment due to a TRAE (Grade 1 dizziness).

As announced, data spanning more than 15 types of cancer will be presented from Mercks broad oncology portfolio and investigational pipeline at the congress. A compendium of presentations and posters of Merck-led studies is available here. Follow Merck on Twitter via @Merck and keep up to date with ESMO news and updates by using the hashtag #ESMO20.

About Vibostolimab

Vibostolimab is an anti-TIGIT therapy discovered and developed by Merck. Vibostolimab binds to TIGIT and blocks the interaction between TIGIT and its ligands (CD112 and CD155), thereby activating T lymphocytes which help to destroy tumor cells. The effect of combining KEYTRUDA with vibostolimab blocking both the TIGIT and PD-1 pathways simultaneously is currently being evaluated across multiple solid tumors, including NSCLC and melanoma.

About MK-4830

MK-4830 is a novel antibody directed against the inhibitory immune checkpoint receptor immunoglobulin-like transcript 4 (ILT4). Unlike current T cell-targeted antibodies (e.g., anti-PD1, anti-CTLA-4), anti-ILT4 is believed to attenuate immunosuppression imposed by tolerogenic myeloid cells in the tumor microenvironment. MK-4830 is currently being evaluated alone and in combination with KEYTRUDA across multiple solid tumors as part of ongoing Phase 1 and 2 trials.

About MK-6482

MK-6482 is an investigational, novel, potent, selective, oral HIF-2 inhibitor that is currently being evaluated in a Phase 3 trial in advanced RCC ( NCT04195750 ), a Phase 2 trial in VHL-associated RCC ( NCT03401788 ), and a Phase 1/2 dose-escalation and dose-expansion trial in advanced solid tumors, including advanced RCC ( NCT02974738 ). Proteins known as hypoxia-inducible factors, including HIF-2, can accumulate in patients when VHL, a tumor-suppressor protein, is inactivated. The accumulation of HIF-2 can lead to the formation of both benign and malignant tumors. This inactivation of VHL has been observed in more than 90% of RCC tumors. Research into VHL biology that led to the discovery of HIF-2 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2019.

About KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) Injection, 100 mg

KEYTRUDA is an anti-PD-1 therapy that works by increasing the ability of the bodys 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.

Merck has the industrys largest immuno-oncology clinical research program. There are currently more than 1,200 trials studying KEYTRUDA across a wide variety of cancers and treatment settings. The KEYTRUDA clinical program seeks to understand the role of KEYTRUDA across cancers and the factors that may predict a patient's likelihood of benefitting from treatment with KEYTRUDA, including exploring several different biomarkers.

Selected KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) Indications

Melanoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the adjuvant treatment of patients with melanoma with involvement of lymph node(s) following complete resection.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations.

KEYTRUDA, in combination with carboplatin and either paclitaxel or paclitaxel protein-bound, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic squamous NSCLC.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with NSCLC expressing PD-L1 [tumor proportion score (TPS) 1%] as determined by an FDA-approved test, with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations, and is stage III where patients are not candidates for surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation, or metastatic.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is 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.

Small Cell Lung Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with metastatic small cell lung cancer (SCLC) with disease progression on or after platinum-based chemotherapy and at least 1 other prior line 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 confirmatory trials.

Head and Neck Squamous Cell Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with platinum and fluorouracil (FU), is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or with unresectable, recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or with unresectable, recurrent HNSCC whose tumors express PD-L1 [combined positive score (CPS) 1] as determined by an FDA-approved test.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, 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.

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 3 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.

Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with refractory primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL), or who have relapsed after 2 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 confirmatory trials. KEYTRUDA is not recommended for treatment of patients with PMBCL who require urgent cytoreductive therapy.

Urothelial Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) who are not eligible for cisplatin-containing chemotherapy and whose tumors express PD-L1 [combined positive score (CPS) 10], as determined by an FDA-approved test, or in patients who are not eligible for any platinum-containing chemotherapy regardless of PD-L1 status. 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 confirmatory trials.

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

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG)-unresponsive, high-risk, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) with carcinoma in situ (CIS) with or without papillary tumors who are ineligible for or have elected not to undergo cystectomy.

Microsatellite Instability-High or Mismatch Repair Deficient 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)

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.

Microsatellite Instability-High or Mismatch Repair Deficient Colorectal Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic MSI-H or dMMR colorectal cancer (CRC).

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 (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.

Esophageal Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS 10) as determined by an FDA-approved test, with disease progression after one or more prior lines of systemic therapy.

Cervical Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer with disease progression on or after chemotherapy whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS 1) as determined by an FDA-approved test. 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.

Hepatocellular Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who have been previously treated with sorafenib. 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.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). 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.

Renal Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA, in combination with axitinib, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Tumor Mutational Burden-High

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with unresectable or metastatic tumor mutational burden-high (TMB-H) [10 mutations/megabase (mut/Mb)] solid tumors, as determined by an FDA-approved test, that have progressed following prior treatment and who have no satisfactory alternative treatment options. 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 TMB-H central nervous system cancers have not been established.

Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) that is not curable by surgery or radiation.

Selected Important Safety Information for KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab)

Immune-Mediated Pneumonitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated pneumonitis, including fatal cases. Pneumonitis occurred in 3.4% (94/2799) of patients with various cancers receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 1 (0.8%), 2 (1.3%), 3 (0.9%), 4 (0.3%), and 5 (0.1%). Pneumonitis occurred in 8.2% (65/790) of NSCLC patients receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent, including Grades 3-4 in 3.2% of patients, and occurred more frequently in patients with a history of prior thoracic radiation (17%) compared to those without (7.7%). Pneumonitis occurred in 6% (18/300) of HNSCC patients receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent, including Grades 3-5 in 1.6% of patients, and occurred in 5.4% (15/276) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with platinum and FU as first-line therapy for advanced disease, including Grades 3-5 in 1.5% of patients.

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.

Immune-Mediated Colitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated colitis. Colitis occurred in 1.7% (48/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.4%), 3 (1.1%), and 4 (<0.1%). 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.

Immune-Mediated Hepatitis (KEYTRUDA) and Hepatotoxicity (KEYTRUDA in Combination With Axitinib)

Immune-Mediated Hepatitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated hepatitis. Hepatitis occurred in 0.7% (19/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.4%), and 4 (<0.1%). 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.

Hepatotoxicity in Combination With Axitinib

KEYTRUDA in combination with axitinib can cause hepatic toxicity with higher than expected frequencies of Grades 3 and 4 ALT and AST elevations compared to KEYTRUDA alone. With the combination of KEYTRUDA and axitinib, Grades 3 and 4 increased ALT (20%) and increased AST (13%) were seen. Monitor liver enzymes before initiation of and periodically throughout treatment. Consider more frequent monitoring of liver enzymes as compared to when the drugs are administered as single agents. For elevated liver enzymes, interrupt KEYTRUDA and axitinib, and consider administering corticosteroids as needed.

Immune-Mediated Endocrinopathies

KEYTRUDA can cause adrenal insufficiency (primary and secondary), hypophysitis, thyroid disorders, and type 1 diabetes mellitus. Adrenal insufficiency occurred in 0.8% (22/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.3%), 3 (0.3%), and 4 (<0.1%). Hypophysitis occurred in 0.6% (17/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.2%), 3 (0.3%), and 4 (<0.1%). Hypothyroidism occurred in 8.5% (237/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (6.2%) and 3 (0.1%). The incidence of new or worsening hypothyroidism was higher in 1185 patients with HNSCC (16%) receiving KEYTRUDA, as a single agent or in combination with platinum and FU, including Grade 3 (0.3%) hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism occurred in 3.4% (96/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.8%) and 3 (0.1%), and thyroiditis occurred in 0.6% (16/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.3%). Type 1 diabetes mellitus, including diabetic ketoacidosis, occurred in 0.2% (6/2799) of patients.

Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency, hypophysitis (including hypopituitarism), thyroid function (prior to and periodically during treatment), and hyperglycemia. For adrenal insufficiency or hypophysitis, administer corticosteroids and hormone replacement as clinically indicated. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2 adrenal insufficiency or hypophysitis and withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or Grade 4 adrenal insufficiency or hypophysitis. Administer hormone replacement for hypothyroidism and manage hyperthyroidism with thionamides and beta-blockers as appropriate. Withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 hyperthyroidism. Administer insulin for type 1 diabetes, and withhold KEYTRUDA and administer antihyperglycemics in patients with severe hyperglycemia.

Immune-Mediated Nephritis and Renal Dysfunction

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated nephritis. Nephritis occurred in 0.3% (9/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.1%), and 4 (<0.1%) nephritis. Nephritis occurred in 1.7% (7/405) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy. Monitor patients for changes in renal function. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater nephritis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; permanently discontinue for Grade 3 or 4 nephritis.

Immune-Mediated Skin Reactions

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 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.

Other Immune-Mediated Adverse Reactions

Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can occur in any organ system or tissue in patients receiving KEYTRUDA and may also occur after discontinuation of treatment. 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-Barr syndrome, myasthenia gravis, vasculitis, pancreatitis, hemolytic anemia, sarcoidosis, and encephalitis. In addition, myelitis and myocarditis were reported in other clinical trials, including classical Hodgkin lymphoma, and postmarketing use.

Treatment with KEYTRUDA may increase the risk of rejection in solid organ transplant recipients. Consider the benefit of treatment vs the risk of possible organ rejection in these patients.

Infusion-Related Reactions

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

Complications of Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT)

Immune-mediated complications, including fatal events, occurred in patients who underwent allogeneic HSCT after treatment with KEYTRUDA. Of 23 patients with cHL who proceeded to allogeneic HSCT after KEYTRUDA, 6 (26%) developed graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) (1 fatal case) and 2 (9%) developed severe hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD) after reduced-intensity conditioning (1 fatal case). Cases of fatal hyperacute GVHD after allogeneic HSCT have also been reported in patients with lymphoma who received a PD-1 receptorblocking antibody before transplantation. Follow patients closely for early evidence of transplant-related complications such as hyperacute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), Grade 3 to 4 acute GVHD, steroid-requiring febrile syndrome, hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD), and other immune-mediated adverse reactions.

In patients with a history of allogeneic HSCT, acute GVHD (including fatal GVHD) has been reported after treatment with KEYTRUDA. Patients who experienced GVHD after their transplant procedure may be at increased risk for GVHD after KEYTRUDA. Consider the benefit of KEYTRUDA vs the risk of GVHD in these patients.

Increased Mortality in Patients With Multiple Myeloma

In 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 trials.

Embryofetal Toxicity

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Merck Presents Promising New Data for Three Investigational Medicines From Diverse and Expansive Oncology Pipeline at ESMO Virtual Congress 2020 - The...

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Researchers Discover a Way To Create Induced Tropoblast Stem Cells – Technology Networks

By daniellenierenberg

An international collaboration involving Monash University and Duke-NUS researchers have made an unexpected world-first stem cell discovery that may lead to new treatments for placenta complications during pregnancy.

While it is widely known that adult skin cells can be reprogrammed into cells similar to human embryonic stem cells that can then be used to develop tissue from human organs - known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) - the same process could not create placenta tissue.

iPSCs opened up the potential for personalised cell therapies and new opportunities for regenerative medicine, safe drug testing and toxicity assessments, however little was known about exactly how they were made.

An international team led by ARC Future Fellow Professor Jose Polo from Monash University's Biomedicine Discovery Institute and the Australian Research Medicine Institute, together with Assistant Professor Owen Rackham from Duke-NUS in Singapore, examined the molecular changes the adult skin cells went through to become iPSCs. It was during the study of this process that they discovered a new way to create induced trophoblast stem cells (iTSCs) that can be used to make placenta cells.

This exciting discovery, also involving the expertise of three first authors, Dr. Xiaodong Liu, Dr. John Ouyang and Dr. Fernando Rossello, will enable further research into new treatments for placenta complications and the measurement of drug toxicity to placenta cells, which has implications during pregnancy.

"This is really important because iPSCs cannot give rise to placenta, thus all the advances in disease modelling and cell therapy that iPSCs have brought about did not translate to the placenta," Professor Polo said.

"When I started my PhD five years ago our goal was to understand the nuts and bolts of how iPSCs are made, however along the way we also discovered how to make iTSCs," said Dr Liu.

"This discovery will provide the capacity to model human placenta in vitro and enable a pathway to future cell therapies," commented Dr Ouyang.

"This study demonstrates how by successfully combining both cutting edge experimental and computational tools, basic science leads to unexpected discoveries that can be transformative," Professor Rackham said.

Professors Polo and Rackham said many other groups from Australian and international universities contributed to the study over the years, making it a truly international endeavour.

Reference:Liu, X., Ouyang, J.F., Rossello, F.J. et al. Reprogramming roadmap reveals route to human induced trophoblast stem cells. Nature (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2734-6

This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

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Curi Bio Announces Mantarray Platform for Analysis of 3D Engineered Muscle Tissues for Discovery of New Therapeutics – BioSpace

By daniellenierenberg

Sept. 15, 2020 16:00 UTC

Curis Platforms are Accelerating Drug Discovery with Human-Relevant 3D Engineered Muscle Tissue Analysis

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Curi Bio, a leading developer of human stem cell-based platforms for drug discovery, today announced the Mantarray platform for human-relevant 3D engineered muscle tissue (EMT) analysis. Curis Mantarray platform enables the discovery, safety, and efficacy testing of new therapeutics by providing parallel analysis of 3D EMTs with adult human-like functional profiles. By providing drug developers human-relevant tissue-specific biosystems in the preclinical stage of drug development, Curi aims to help pharmaceutical partners develop safer and more effective therapeutics in less time, at lower cost. Curi Bio is currently partnering with several leading pharmaceutical companies to accelerate the development of the Mantarray platform and to apply it to drug discovery and development projects.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200915005905/en/

A 3D engineered muscle tissue in Curis Mantarray platform. (Graphic: Business Wire)

Cardiovascular diseases often involve a gradual loss of cardiac contractile strength and function, ultimately leading to heart failure. Cardiomyocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC-CMs) offer a promising route to model the contractile deficiencies seen in the hearts of patients with cardiovascular diseases. However, 2D cell models lack the physiologically relevant structure and function of 3D models. As a result, 3D engineered muscle tissues have been growing in use in the drug development industry. Yet existing 3D EMT solutions are complex and low throughput, often relying on laborious serial optical imaging of each tissue to measure contractility.

Curi will make the Mantarray platform available to pharmaceutical and research customers as a standalone bioscience instrument together with multiwell consumable plates for casting and assaying EMTs. Curi will also offer service contracts and partnerships leveraging the Mantarray technology for applications in drug discovery, disease modeling, and safety and efficacy screening. Curis Mantarray platform leverages a proprietary, label-free, non-optical, electromagnetic measurement system for direct contractility assessment of up to 24 parallel iPSC-derived 3D engineered muscle tissues simultaneously. With the Mantarray platform, scientists can achieve clinically relevant functional measurements of human iPSC-derived engineered muscle tissue contractility, with a throughput and reproducibility compatible with higher-throughput screening workflows. Mantarray brings clinically relevant functional data into the earliest stages of preclinical testing of new medicines.

Leveraging human iPSC-derived cells, Mantarray 3D tissues can be used to create high-fidelity models of human diseases. For example, Mantarray 3D EMTs can be gene-edited with a CRISPR/Cas9 system to model human diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy and various cardiomyopathies. Multi-modal Mantarray data show enhanced disease stratification providing researchers with more physiological data for the discovery and validation of new therapeutics.

The Mantarray platform also provides a breakthrough cardiotoxicity safety and efficacy testing platform with novel magnetic detection of drug-induced contractile changes. The magnetic detection approach can measure both acute and chronic drug responses. Drugs can be measured on the order of seconds to minutes with enough sensitivity to measure dose-response-like behavior. Alternatively, longer-term chronic experiments can be performed over the course of days. Applications include acute and chronic structural cardiotoxicity evaluation.

At Curi Bio, our goal is to provide researchers with innovative human-relevant cells, systems, and data to accelerate the discovery of new medicines, said Curi CEO Michael Cho. By providing drug developers unprecedented access to clinically-relevant preclinical models that more closely recapitulate human cardiac and skeletal muscle tissue, Curi is closing the gap between preclinical results and clinical impact.

Dr. Nicholas Geisse, Chief Science Officer of Curi Bio, will present Curis Mantarray platform and Curis recently announced ComboMat platform in a presentation at the Discovery on Target 2020 Virtual Conference.

Event: Discovery on Target 2020Date: Thursday, September 17, 2020Time: 11:15 AM EDTSession: Disease ModelingTitle: Structural Maturation in the Development of hiPSC-Cardiomyocyte Models for Preclinical Safety, Efficacy, and Discovery

Curis Mantarray platform integrates proprietary methods and IP exclusively licensed to Curi Bio by the University of Washington.

To learn more about how the Mantarray platform can improve the predictive power of 3D EMTs, or about Curis other human-relevant preclinical platform technologies and services, please reach out at http://www.curibio.com/contact.

About Curi Bio

Curi Bios preclinical discovery platform combines human stem cells, systems, and data to accelerate the discovery of new medicines. The Curi Engine is a seamless, bioengineered platform that integrates human iPSC-derived cell models, tissue-specific biosystems, and AI/ML-enabled phenotypic screening data. Curis suite of human stem cell-based products and services enable scientists to build more mature and predictive human iPSC-derived tissueswith a focus on cardiac, musculoskeletal, and neuromuscular modelsfor the discovery, safety testing, and efficacy testing of new drugs in development. By offering drug developers an integrated preclinical platform comprising highly predictive human stem cell models to generate clinically-relevant data, Curi is closing the gap between preclinical data and human results, accelerating the discovery and development of safer, more effective medicines.

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Curi Bio Announces Mantarray Platform for Analysis of 3D Engineered Muscle Tissues for Discovery of New Therapeutics - BioSpace

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Astellas and Seattle Genetics Announce PADCEV (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv) Significantly Improved Overall Survival in Phase 3 Trial in Previously Treated…

By daniellenierenberg

TOKYO and BOTHELL, Wash., Sept. 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --Astellas Pharma Inc.(TSE: 4503, President and CEO: Kenji Yasukawa, Ph.D., "Astellas") and Seattle Genetics, Inc. (Nasdaq:SGEN) today announced that a phase 3 trial of PADCEV (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv) met its primary endpoint of overall survival compared to chemotherapy. The results were reviewed by an independent Data Monitoring Committee following a planned interim analysis. The global EV-301 clinical trial compared PADCEV to chemotherapy in adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer who were previously treated with platinum-based chemotherapy and a PD-1/L1 inhibitor.

In the trial, PADCEV significantly improved overall survival (OS), with a 30 percent reduction in risk of death (Hazard Ratio [HR]=0.70; [95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.56, 0.89]; p=0.001). PADCEV also significantly improved progression-free survival (PFS), a secondary endpoint, with a 39 percent reduction in risk of disease progression or death (HR=0.61 [95% CI: 0.50, 0.75]; p<0.00001).

For patients in the PADCEV arm of the trial, adverse events were consistent with those listed in the U.S. Prescribing Information, with rash, hyperglycemia, decreased neutrophil count, fatigue, anemia and decreased appetite as the most frequent Grade 3 or greater adverse event(s) occurring in more than 5 percent of patients.Data from EV-301 will be submitted for presentation at an upcoming scientific congress. Patients in the chemotherapy arm of the trial will be offered the opportunity to receive PADCEV.

The results will be submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the confirmatory trial following the drug's accelerated approval in 2019. EV-301 is also intended to support global registrations.

"EV-301 is the first randomized trial to show overall survival results compared to chemotherapy in patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer who previously have received platinum-based treatment and a PD-1 or PD-L1 inhibitor, and we are encouraged by the potential this may have in helping patients who have otherwise limited alternatives," said Andrew Krivoshik, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Oncology Therapeutic Area Head, Astellas. "We look forward to discussing these results with global health authorities."

"These survival results from the confirmatory trial for PADCEV are welcome news for patients whose cancer has progressed after platinum-based chemotherapy and immunotherapy," said Roger Dansey, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Seattle Genetics. "We continue to explore PADCEV's activity across the spectrum of urothelial cancer including its potential for use in earlier lines of therapy."

Globally, approximately 580,000 people will be diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2020.1Urothelial cancer accounts for 90 percent of all bladder cancers and can also be found in the renal pelvis (where urine collects inside the kidney), ureter (tube that connects the kidneys to the bladder) and urethra.2Approximately 80 percent of people do not respond to PD-1 or PD-L1 inhibitors after a platinum-containing therapy has failed as an initial treatment for advanced disease.3

About the EV-301 TrialThe EV-301 trial (NCT03474107) is a global, multicenter, open-label, randomized phase 3 trial designed to evaluate PADCEV versus physician's choice of chemotherapy (docetaxel, paclitaxel or vinflunine) in approximately 600 patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer who were previously treated with a PD-1 or PD-L1 inhibitor and platinum-based therapies. The primary endpoint is overall survival of participants treated with PADCEV compared to those treated with chemotherapy. Secondary endpoints include progression-free survival, duration of response, and overall response rate, as well as assessment of safety/tolerability and quality-of-life parameters.

For more information about the EV-301 clinical trial, please visit http://www.clinicaltrials.gov.

About PADCEV (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv)PADCEV was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2019 and is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer who have previously received a programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) or programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitor and a platinum-containing chemotherapy before (neoadjuvant) or after (adjuvant) surgery or in a locally advanced or metastatic setting. PADCEV was approved under the FDA's Accelerated Approval Program based on tumor response rate. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.4

PADCEV is a first-in-class antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) that is directed against Nectin-4, a protein located on the surface of cells and highly expressed in bladder cancer.4,5 Nonclinical data suggest the anticancer activity of PADCEV is due to its binding to Nectin-4 expressing cells followed by the internalization and release of the anti-tumor agent monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE) into the cell, which result in the cell not reproducing (cell cycle arrest) and in programmed cell death (apoptosis).4 PADCEV is co-developed by Astellas and Seattle Genetics.

PADCEV Important Safety Information

Warnings and Precautions

Adverse ReactionsSerious adverse reactions occurred in 46% of patients treated with PADCEV. The most common serious adverse reactions (3%) were urinary tract infection (6%), cellulitis (5%), febrile neutropenia (4%), diarrhea (4%), sepsis (3%), acute kidney injury (3%), dyspnea (3%), and rash (3%). Fatal adverse reactions occurred in 3.2% of patients, including acute respiratory failure, aspiration pneumonia, cardiac disorder, and sepsis (each 0.8%).

Adverse reactions leading to discontinuation occurred in 16% of patients; the most common adverse reaction leading to discontinuation was peripheral neuropathy (6%). Adverse reactions leading to dose interruption occurred in 64% of patients; the most common adverse reactions leading to dose interruption were peripheral neuropathy (18%), rash (9%) and fatigue (6%). Adverse reactions leading to dose reduction occurred in 34% of patients; the most common adverse reactions leading to dose reduction were peripheral neuropathy (12%), rash (6%) and fatigue (4%).

The most common adverse reactions (20%) were fatigue (56%), peripheral neuropathy (56%), decreased appetite (52%), rash (52%), alopecia (50%), nausea (45%), dysgeusia (42%), diarrhea (42%), dry eye (40%), pruritus (26%) and dry skin (26%). The most common Grade 3 adverse reactions (5%) were rash (13%), diarrhea (6%) and fatigue (6%).

Lab AbnormalitiesIn one clinical trial, Grade 3-4 laboratory abnormalities reported in 5% were: lymphocytes decreased (10%), hemoglobin decreased (10%), phosphate decreased (10%), lipase increased (9%), sodium decreased (8%), glucose increased (8%), urate increased (7%), neutrophils decreased (5%).

Drug Interactions

Specific Populations

For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information for PADCEV here.

About Astellas Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, we are also looking beyond our foundational Rx focus to create Rx+ healthcare solutions that combine our expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients. For more information, please visit our website at https://www.astellas.com/en/.

About Seattle Genetics Seattle Genetics, Inc. is a global biotechnology company that discovers, develops and commercializes transformative medicines targeting cancer to make a meaningful difference in people's lives. The company is headquartered in the Seattle, Washington area, with locations in California, Switzerland and the European Union. For more information on our robust pipeline, visit http://www.seattlegenetics.comand follow @SeattleGeneticson Twitter.

About the Astellas and Seattle Genetics CollaborationAstellas and Seattle Genetics are co-developing PADCEV (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv) under a 50:50 worldwide development and commercialization collaboration that was entered into in 2007 and expanded in 2009.

Astellas Cautionary NotesIn this press release, statements made with respect to current plans, estimates, strategies and beliefs and other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements about the future performance of Astellas. These statements are based on management's current assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: (i) changes in general economic conditions and in laws and regulations, relating to pharmaceutical markets, (ii) currency exchange rate fluctuations, (iii) delays in new product launches, (iv) the inability of Astellas to market existing and new products effectively, (v) the inability of Astellas to continue to effectively research and develop products accepted by customers in highly competitive markets, and (vi) infringements of Astellas' intellectual property rights by third parties.

Information about pharmaceutical products (including products currently in development), which is included in this press release is not intended to constitute an advertisement or medical advice.

Seattle Genetics Forward Looking Statements Certain statements made in this press release are forward looking, such as those, among others, relating to the submission of data from the EV-301 trial for presentation at an upcoming scientific congress; intended regulatory actions, including plans to submit the results of the EV-301 trial to the FDA as the confirmatory trial following the drug's accelerated approval in the U.S. and plans to discuss the results with global health authorities and seek global registrations; conduct of a comprehensive clinical development program for PADCEV, which includes exploring PADCEV's activity in other types of urothelial cancer and its potential for use in earlier lines of therapy;the therapeutic potential of PADCEV,including its efficacy, safety and therapeutic uses, and anticipated development activities, including ongoing and future clinical trials. Actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected or implied in these forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause such a difference include that the data from the EV-301 trial may not be selected for presentation at scientific congresses; the possibility of delays in the submission of results to the FDA; that the results from the EV-301 trial may not be enough to convert PADCEV's accelerated approval in the U.S. to regular approval or to support any other global registrations; that, even if PADCEV receives regular approval in the U.S. or any other global registrations, the product labeling may not be as broad or desirable as anticipated; the possibility that ongoing and subsequent clinical trials may fail to establish sufficient activity; the risk of adverse events or safety signals; and the possibility that adverse regulatory actions may occur. More information about the risks and uncertainties faced by Seattle Genetics is contained under the caption "Risk Factors" included in the company's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2020 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Seattle Genetics disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

1 International Agency for Research on Cancer. Cancer Tomorrow: Bladder. http://gco.iarc.fr/tomorrow. Accessed 07-31-2020.2 American Society of Clinical Oncology. Bladder cancer: introduction (10-2017).3 Shah, Manasee V., et al "Targeted Literature Review of the Burden of Illness in UC" (PCN108), Nov 2018.4PADCEV [package insert] Northbrook, IL: Astellas, Inc.5Challita-Eid P, Satpayev D, Yang P, et al. Enfortumab Vedotin Antibody-Drug Conjugate Targeting Nectin-4 Is a Highly Potent Therapeutic Agent in Multiple Preclinical Cancer Models. Cancer Res 2016;76(10):3003-13.

SOURCE Astellas Pharma Inc.

https://www.astellas.com/en/

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What Is Covid-19 Doing to Our Hearts? – The New Republic

By daniellenierenberg

Brady Feeney hadnt even taken any classes at Indiana University when he fell ill with Covid-19. Three weeks after he moved to Bloomington, the incoming freshman was in the emergency room, struggling to breathe. Before his illness, Feeney had been a perfectly healthy teenager, with no preexisting conditions. In high school, he was a three-time all-state football player and won two state titles in Missouri. But after two weeks of hell fighting the virus, his mother said, his bloodwork indicated possible heart problems.

When SARS-CoV-2 first struck the United States, the medical community had two working assumptions: First, this was primarily a respiratory disease, and second, it seemed to hit older people much harder than younger people, with eight out of 10 confirmed Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. happening in adults 65 or older. But now, new research is challenging both of these assumptions.

Growing evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 doesnt only infect the lungs. It also affects the brain, kidneys, and heart. At first, doctors and researchers wondered if these issues beyond the lungs came just from the stress of having Covid-19 and being on a ventilator or life support. But increasingly, research indicates that the virus may be attacking other organs in the body directlyand this may be more common than previously thought, even among those who arent sick enough to be hospitalized. Some have suggested that Covid-19 is actually a blood vessel disease; the lungs are merely the way the virus enters the body, but from there it gets into the bloodstream and takes up residence in major organs, leaving patients with complex, long-lasting symptoms. Moreover, experts now believe, healthy young people can get mild cases of the coronaviruseven not knowing they were sickthat could leave them with lasting cardiovascular damage. Even those who seem to have recovered from the deadly respiratory illness are not free of its complications.

Heart failure could be the next chapter of the coronavirus illness, Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, interim chief of UCLAs Division of Cardiology, recently argued in a co-authored editorial in the journal JAMA Cardiology. Even if in younger adults Covid-19 may not be fatal, there still may be important health consequences, he told me.

Myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart, is usually a rare condition that can occur with viral infections, including the flu. But from the start of the pandemic, doctors were seeing heart inflammation among patients hospitalized with serious cases of Covid-19, Fonarow said: Early research showed that 20 to 30 percent of those hospitalized had heart issues. Left untreated, myocarditis can damage the heart and lead to heart attacks and arrhythmias, among other complications.

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Alexion and Caelum Biosciences Announce Start of Phase 3 Studies of CAEL-101 in AL Amyloidosis – BioSpace

By daniellenierenberg

Sept. 14, 2020 12:00 UTC

BOSTON & BORDENTOWN, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc.. (NASDAQ:ALXN) and Caelum Biosciences, Inc. today announced the initiation of the Cardiac Amyloid Reaching for Extended Survival (CARES) Phase 3 clinical program to evaluate CAEL-101, a first-in-class amyloid fibril targeted therapy, in combination with standard-of-care (SoC) therapy in AL amyloidosis. The CARES clinical program includes two parallel Phase 3 studies one in patients with Mayo stage IIIa disease and one in patients with Mayo stage IIIb disease and will collectively enroll approximately 370 patients globally. Enrollment is underway in both studies. The primary objective of the clinical program is to assess overall survival.

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In AL amyloidosis, misfolded amyloid proteins can build up in many organs throughout the body, including the heart and kidneys, causing significant damage to these organs and impairing their function. While current treatments address the bone marrow disorder that creates the misfolded amyloid proteins, there are no approved therapies for the significant organ damage the disease causes, said John Orloff, M.D., Executive Vice President and Head of Research and Development at Alexion. CAEL-101 has the potential to be the first treatment to target and remove the amyloid deposits from these organs. Data from Phase 1 studies suggest that this treatment approach may improve organ function and long-term survival. We look forward to investigating this further in the Phase 3 clinical program.

AL amyloidosis is particularly devastating when it affects the heart, with median survival in these patients of less than one year following diagnosis, said Michael Spector, President and Chief Executive Officer of Caelum. Long-term survival data from AL amyloidosis patients treated with CAEL-101 in the Phase 1a/1b study showed that 78 percent were still alive after a median follow-up time of more than three years. We recognize the urgent need for new treatments that address the organ damage caused by AL amyloidosis and are working together with the AL amyloidosis community and Alexion to advance the Phase 3 clinical program as quickly as possible.

About the CARES Phase 3 Clinical Program

The CARES clinical program consists of two parallel double-blind, randomized, event-driven global Phase 3 studies, which are evaluating the efficacy and safety of CAEL-101 in AL amyloidosis patients who are newly diagnosed and nave to standard of care (SoC) treatment (cyclophosphamide-bortezomib-dexamethasone (CyBorD) chemotherapy). One study is enrolling approximately 260 patients with Mayo stage IIIa disease and one study is enrolling approximately 110 patients with Mayo stage IIIb disease. The studies will be conducted at approximately 70 sites across North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, Israel, Japan, and Australia.

In each study, participants are being randomized in a 2:1 ratio to receive either CAEL-101 plus SoC or placebo plus SoC once weekly for four weeks. This will be followed by a maintenance dose administered every two weeks until the last patient enrolled completes at least 50 weeks of treatment. Patients will continue follow-up visits every 12 weeks.

The primary study objectives are overall survival and the safety and tolerability of CAEL-101. Key secondary objectives will assess functional improvement in the six-minute walk test (6MWT), quality of life measures (Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire Overall Score & Short Form 36 version 2 Physical Component Score) and cardiac improvement (Global Longitudinal Strain, or GLS).

Phase 2 Study Results

The Phase 2 open-label dose escalation study was conducted to investigate higher doses of CAEL-101 than had been evaluated in Phase 1 studies with a primary objective to identify the best dose to advance into Phase 3 development. The study evaluated the safety and tolerability of CAEL-101 in 13 AL amyloidosis patients at three study sites who received up to 1000 mg/m2 of CAEL-101 (two times the Phase 1 dose) administered in combination with SoC treatment. The study met its primary objectives, supporting the safety and tolerability of CAEL-101 and the selection of the 1000 mg/m2 dose for the Phase 3 study.

Phase 1a/1b Long-Term Follow-Up Results Presented at ISA 2020

As previously reported, the Phase 1a/1b study of CAEL-101 was the first clinical trial to demonstrate improvement in cardiac function via GLS after treatment with an amyloid fibril targeted therapy in AL amyloidosis patients with amyloid cardiac involvement. New long-term follow-up data from the Phase 1a/1b study will be presented at the virtual International Symposium on Amyloidosis (ISA), September 14 to 18, 2020, in the poster titled, Long term follow-up of patients with AL amyloidosis treated on a phase 1 study of Anti-Amyloid Monoclonal Antibody CAEL-101 (Abstract #342, Divaya Bhutani, M.D., et. al, Columbia University Medical Center). These data demonstrate 78 percent survival (15/19) at a median follow-up of more than three years (37 months) in AL amyloidosis patients treated with CAEL-101 as well as durable organ response among evaluable patients, further supporting the advancement of CAEL-101 into Phase 3 development.

About CAEL-101

CAEL-101 is a first-in-class monoclonal antibody (mAb) designed to improve organ function by reducing or eliminating amyloid deposits in the tissues and organs of patients with AL amyloidosis. The antibody is designed to bind to misfolded light chain protein and amyloid and shows binding to both kappa and lambda subtypes. In a Phase 1a/1b study, CAEL-101 demonstrated improved organ function, including cardiac and renal function, in 27 patients with relapsed and refractory AL amyloidosis who had previously not had an organ response to standard of care therapy. CAEL-101 has received Orphan Drug Designation from both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and European Medicine Agency as a therapy for patients with AL amyloidosis.

About AL Amyloidosis

AL amyloidosis is a rare systemic disorder caused by an abnormality of plasma cells in the bone marrow. Misfolded immunoglobulin light chains produced by plasma cells aggregate and form fibrils that deposit in tissues and organs. This deposition can cause widespread and progressive organ damage and high mortality rates, with death most frequently occurring as a result of cardiac failure. Current standard of care includes plasma cell directed chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplant, but these therapies do not address the organ dysfunction caused by amyloid deposition, and up to 80 percent of patients are ineligible for transplant.

AL amyloidosis is a rare disease but is the most common form of amyloidosis. There are approximately 22,000 patients across the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. AL amyloidosis has a one-year mortality rate of 47 percent, 76 percent of which is caused by cardiac amyloidosis.

About Alexion

Alexion is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on serving patients and families affected by rare diseases and devastating conditions through the discovery, development and commercialization of life-changing medicines. As a leader in rare diseases for more than 25 years, Alexion has developed and commercializes two approved complement inhibitors to treat patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), as well as the first and only approved complement inhibitor to treat anti-acetylcholine receptor (AchR) antibody-positive generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG) and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD). Alexion also has two highly innovative enzyme replacement therapies for patients with life-threatening and ultra-rare metabolic disorders, hypophosphatasia (HPP) and lysosomal acid lipase deficiency (LAL-D) as well as the first and only approved Factor Xa inhibitor reversal agent. In addition, the company is developing several mid-to-late-stage therapies, including a copper-binding agent for Wilson disease, an anti-neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) antibody for rare Immunoglobulin G (IgG)-mediated diseases and an oral Factor D inhibitor as well as several early-stage therapies, including one for light chain (AL) amyloidosis, a second oral Factor D inhibitor and a third complement inhibitor. Alexion focuses its research efforts on novel molecules and targets in the complement cascade and its development efforts on the core therapeutic areas of hematology, nephrology, neurology, metabolic disorders and cardiology. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, Alexion has offices around the globe and serves patients in more than 50 countries. This press release and further information about Alexion can be found at: http://www.alexion.com.

[ALXN-P]

About Caelum Biosciences

Caelum Biosciences, Inc. (Caelum) is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing treatments for rare and life-threatening diseases. Caelums lead asset, CAEL-101, is a novel antibody for the treatment of patients with amyloid light chain (AL) amyloidosis. In 2019, Caelum entered a collaboration agreement with Alexion under which Alexion acquired a minority equity interest in Caelum and an exclusive option to acquire the remaining equity in the company based on Phase 3 CAEL-101 data. Caelum was founded by Fortress Biotech, Inc. (NASDAQ: FBIO). For more information, visit http://www.caelumbio.com.

Forward-Looking Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties relating to future events and the future performance of Alexion and Caelum, including statements related to: the safety and efficacy CAEL-101 as a treatment for AL amyloidosis; CAEL-101 has the potential to be the first treatment to target and remove the amyloid deposits from the heart, kidney and other organs; data from the Phase 1 studies suggest that the treatment approach may improve organ function and long-term survival and enrollment of the Phase 3 trials. Forward-looking statements are subject to factors that may cause Alexion's and Caelums results and plans to differ materially from those expected by these forward looking statements, including for example: the anticipated safety profile and the benefits of the CAEL-101 may not be realized (and the results of the clinical trials may not be indicative of future results); the inability to enroll and complete the Phase 3 trial; results of clinical trials may not be sufficient to satisfy regulatory authorities; results in clinical trials may not be indicative of results from later stage or larger clinical trials (or in broader patient populations); the possibility that results of clinical trials are not predictive of safety and efficacy and potency of our products (or we fail to adequately operate or manage our clinical trials) which could cause us to discontinue sales of the product (or halt trials, delay or prevent us from making regulatory approval filings or result in denial of approval of our product candidates); the severity of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Alexions or Caelums business, including on commercial and clinical development programs; unexpected delays in clinical trials; unexpected concerns regarding products and product candidates that may arise from additional data or analysis obtained during clinical trials or obtained once used by patients following product approval; future product improvements may not be realized due to expense or feasibility or other factors; delays (expected or unexpected) in the time it takes regulatory agencies to review and make determinations on applications for the marketing approval of our products; inability to timely submit (or failure to submit) future applications for regulatory approval for our products and product candidates; inability to timely initiate (or failure to initiate) and complete future clinical trials due to safety issues, IRB decisions, CMC-related issues, expense or unfavorable results from earlier trials (among other reasons); future competition from biosimilars and novel products; decisions of regulatory authorities regarding the adequacy of our research, marketing approval or material limitations on the marketing of our products; delays or failure of product candidates to obtain regulatory approval; delays or the inability to launch product candidates due to regulatory restrictions, anticipated expense or other matters; interruptions or failures in the manufacture and supply of our products and our product candidates; failure to satisfactorily address matters raised by regulatory agencies regarding our products and product candidates; uncertainty of long-term success in developing, licensing or acquiring other product candidates or additional indications for existing products; the adequacy of our pharmacovigilance and drug safety reporting processes; failure to protect and enforce our data, intellectual property and proprietary rights and the risks and uncertainties relating to intellectual property claims, lawsuits and challenges against us; the risk that third party payors (including governmental agencies) will not reimburse for the use of our products at acceptable rates or at all; delay of collection or reduction in reimbursement due to adverse economic conditions or changes in government and private insurer regulations and approaches to reimbursement; adverse impacts on supply chain, clinical trials, manufacturing operations, financial results, liquidity, hospitals, pharmacies and health care systems from natural disasters and global pandemics, including COVID-19 and a variety of other risks set forth from time to time in Alexion's filings with the SEC, including but not limited to the risks discussed in Alexion's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended June 30, 2020 and in their other filings with the SEC. Alexion disclaims any obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof, except when a duty arises under law.

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Seattle Genetics and Merck Announce Two Strategic Oncology Collaborations – BioSpace

By daniellenierenberg

Sept. 14, 2020 10:45 UTC

BOTHELL, Wash. & KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Seattle Genetics, Inc. (Nasdaq: SGEN) and Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced two new strategic oncology collaborations.

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The companies will globally develop and commercialize Seattle Genetics ladiratuzumab vedotin, an investigational antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) targeting LIV-1, which is currently in phase 2 clinical trials for breast cancer and other solid tumors. The collaboration will pursue a broad joint development program evaluating ladiratuzumab vedotin as monotherapy and in combination with Mercks anti-PD-1 therapy KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) in triple-negative breast cancer, hormone receptor-positive breast cancer and other LIV-1-expressing solid tumors. Under the terms of the agreement, Seattle Genetics will receive a $600 million upfront payment and Merck will make a $1.0 billion equity investment in 5.0 million shares of Seattle Genetics common stock at a price of $200 per share. In addition, Seattle Genetics is eligible for progress-dependent milestone payments of up to $2.6 billion.

Separately, Seattle Genetics has granted Merck an exclusive license to commercialize TUKYSA (tucatinib), a small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor, for the treatment of HER2-positive cancers, in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America and other regions outside of the U.S., Canada and Europe. Seattle Genetics will receive $125 million from Merck as an upfront payment and is eligible for progress-dependent milestones of up to $65 million.

Collaborating with Merck on ladiratuzumab vedotin will allow us to accelerate and broaden its development program in breast cancer and other solid tumors, including in combination with Mercks KEYTRUDA, while also positioning us to leverage our U.S. and European commercial operations, said Clay Siegall, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Seattle Genetics. The strategic collaboration for TUKYSA will help us reach more patients globally and benefit from the established commercial strength of one of the worlds premier pharmaceutical companies.

These two strategic collaborations will enable us to further diversify Mercks broad oncology portfolio and pipeline, and to continue our efforts to extend and improve the lives of as many patients with cancer as possible, said Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter, President, Merck Research Laboratories. We look forward to working with the team at Seattle Genetics to advance the clinical program for ladiratuzumab vedotin, which has shown compelling signals of efficacy in early studies, and to bring TUKYSA to even more patients with cancer around the world.

Ladiratuzumab Vedotin Collaboration Details

Under the terms of the agreement, Seattle Genetics and Merck will collaborate and equally share costs on the global development of ladiratuzumab vedotin and other LIV-1-targeting ADCs. The companies have agreed to jointly develop and share future costs and profits for ladiratuzumab vedotin on a 50:50 basis worldwide. Merck will pay Seattle Genetics $600 million upfront and make a $1.0 billion equity investment in 5.0 million shares of Seattle Genetics common stock at a price of $200 per share. In addition, Seattle Genetics will be eligible to receive up to $2.6 billion in milestone payments, including $850 million in development milestones and $1.75 billion in sales milestones.

The companies will jointly develop and commercialize ladiratuzumab vedotin and equally share profits worldwide. The companies will co-commercialize in the U.S. and Europe. Seattle Genetics will be responsible for marketing applications for approval in the U.S. and Canada, and will record sales in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Merck will be responsible for marketing applications for approval in Europe and in countries outside the U.S. and Canada, and will record sales in countries outside the U.S., Europe and Canada. Including the upfront payment, equity investment proceeds and potential milestone payments, Seattle Genetics is eligible to receive up to $4.2 billion.

The closing of the equity investment is contingent on completion of review under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR Act).

TUKYSA Collaboration Details

Under the terms of the agreement, Merck has been granted exclusive rights to commercialize TUKYSA in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America and other regions outside of the U.S., Canada and Europe. Seattle Genetics retains commercial rights and will record sales in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Merck will be responsible for marketing applications for approval in its territory, supported by the positive results from the HER2CLIMB clinical trial.

Merck will also co-fund a portion of the TUKYSA global development plan, which encompasses several ongoing and planned trials across HER2-positive cancers, including breast, colorectal, gastric and other cancers set forth in a global product development plan. Seattle Genetics will continue to lead ongoing TUKYSA global development planning and operational execution. Merck will solely fund and conduct country-specific clinical trials necessary to support anticipated regulatory applications in its territory.

Seattle Genetics will receive from Merck $125 million as an upfront payment and is eligible to receive progress-dependent milestones of up to $65 million. Seattle Genetics will also receive $85 million in prepaid research and development payments to be applied to Mercks global development funding obligations. In addition, Seattle Genetics would receive tiered royalties on sales of TUKYSA in Mercks territory.

The financial impact of these collaborations is not included in Seattle Genetics 2020 guidance.

Seattle Genetics Conference Call Details

Seattle Genetics management will host a conference call to discuss these collaborations today at 6:00 a.m. Pacific Time (PT); 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time (ET). The event will be simultaneously webcast and available for replay from the Seattle Genetics website at http://www.seattlegenetics.com, under the Investors section. Investors may also participate in the conference call by calling 844-763-8274 (domestic) or +1 412-717-9224 (international). The conference ID is 10147850.

About Ladiratuzumab Vedotin

Ladiratuzumab vedotin is a novel investigational ADC targeted to LIV-1. Most metastatic breast cancers express LIV-1, which also has been detected in several other cancers, including lung, head and neck, esophageal and gastric. Ladiratuzumab vedotin utilizes Seattle Genetics proprietary ADC technology and consists of a LIV-1-targeted monoclonal antibody linked to a potent microtubule-disrupting agent, monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE) by a protease-cleavable linker. This novel ADC is designed to bind to LIV-1 on cancer cells and release the cell-killing agent into target cells upon internalization. Ladiratuzumab vedotin may also cause antitumor activity through other mechanisms, including activation of an immune response by induction of immunogenic cell death.

About TUKYSA (tucatinib)

TUKYSA is an oral, small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) of HER2, a protein that contributes to cancer cell growth. TUKYSA in combination with trastuzumab and capecitabine was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April 2020 for adult patients with advanced unresectable or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer, including patients with brain metastases, who have received one or more prior anti-HER2-based regimens in the metastatic setting. In addition, TUKYSA received approval in Canada, Singapore, Australia and Switzerland under the Project Orbis initiative of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence that provides a framework for concurrent submission and review of oncology products among international partners. A marketing application is under review in the European Union.

TUKYSA is being evaluated in several ongoing clinical trials and additional studies are planned. Current trials include the following:

For additional information, visit http://www.clinicaltrials.gov.

TUKYSA Important Safety Information

Warnings and Precautions

If diarrhea occurs, administer antidiarrheal treatment as clinically indicated. Perform diagnostic tests as clinically indicated to exclude other causes of diarrhea. Based on the severity of the diarrhea, interrupt dose, then dose reduce or permanently discontinue TUKYSA.

Monitor ALT, AST, and bilirubin prior to starting TUKYSA, every 3 weeks during treatment, and as clinically indicated. Based on the severity of hepatoxicity, interrupt dose, then dose reduce or permanently discontinue TUKYSA.

Adverse Reactions

Serious adverse reactions occurred in 26% of patients who received TUKYSA. Serious adverse reactions in 2% of patients who received TUKYSA were diarrhea (4%), vomiting (2.5%), nausea (2%), abdominal pain (2%), and seizure (2%). Fatal adverse reactions occurred in 2% of patients who received TUKYSA including sudden death, sepsis, dehydration, and cardiogenic shock.

Adverse reactions led to treatment discontinuation in 6% of patients who received TUKYSA; those occurring in 1% of patients were hepatotoxicity (1.5%) and diarrhea (1%). Adverse reactions led to dose reduction in 21% of patients who received TUKYSA; those occurring in 2% of patients were hepatotoxicity (8%) and diarrhea (6%).

The most common adverse reactions in patients who received TUKYSA (20%) were diarrhea, palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia, nausea, fatigue, hepatotoxicity, vomiting, stomatitis, decreased appetite, abdominal pain, headache, anemia, and rash.

Lab Abnormalities

In HER2CLIMB, Grade 3 laboratory abnormalities reported in 5% of patients who received TUKYSA were: decreased phosphate, increased ALT, decreased potassium, and increased AST. The mean increase in serum creatinine was 32% within the first 21 days of treatment with TUKYSA. The serum creatinine increases persisted throughout treatment and were reversible upon treatment completion. Consider alternative markers of renal function if persistent elevations in serum creatinine are observed.

Drug Interactions

Use in Specific Populations

For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information for TUKYSA here.

About KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) Injection, 100 mg

KEYTRUDA is an anti-PD-1 therapy that works by increasing the ability of the bodys 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.

Merck has the industrys largest immuno-oncology clinical research program. There are currently more than 1,200 trials studying KEYTRUDA across a wide variety of cancers and treatment settings. The KEYTRUDA clinical program seeks to understand the role of KEYTRUDA across cancers and the factors that may predict a patient's likelihood of benefitting from treatment with KEYTRUDA, including exploring several different biomarkers.

Selected KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) Indications

Melanoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the adjuvant treatment of patients with melanoma with involvement of lymph node(s) following complete resection.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations.

KEYTRUDA, in combination with carboplatin and either paclitaxel or paclitaxel protein-bound, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic squamous NSCLC.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with NSCLC expressing PD-L1 [tumor proportion score (TPS) 1%] as determined by an FDA-approved test, with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations, and is stage III where patients are not candidates for surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation, or metastatic.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is 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.

Small Cell Lung Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with metastatic small cell lung cancer (SCLC) with disease progression on or after platinum-based chemotherapy and at least 1 other prior line 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 confirmatory trials.

Head and Neck Squamous Cell Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with platinum and fluorouracil (FU), is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or with unresectable, recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or with unresectable, recurrent HNSCC whose tumors express PD-L1 [combined positive score (CPS) 1] as determined by an FDA-approved test.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, 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.

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 3 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.

Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with refractory primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL), or who have relapsed after 2 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 confirmatory trials. KEYTRUDA is not recommended for treatment of patients with PMBCL who require urgent cytoreductive therapy.

Urothelial Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) who are not eligible for cisplatin-containing chemotherapy and whose tumors express PD-L1 [combined positive score (CPS) 10], as determined by an FDA-approved test, or in patients who are not eligible for any platinum-containing chemotherapy regardless of PD-L1 status. 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 confirmatory trials.

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

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG)-unresponsive, high-risk, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) with carcinoma in situ (CIS) with or without papillary tumors who are ineligible for or have elected not to undergo cystectomy.

Microsatellite Instability-High or Mismatch Repair Deficient 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)

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.

Microsatellite Instability-High or Mismatch Repair Deficient Colorectal Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic MSI-H or dMMR colorectal cancer (CRC).

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 (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.

Esophageal Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS 10) as determined by an FDA-approved test, with disease progression after one or more prior lines of systemic therapy.

Cervical Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer with disease progression on or after chemotherapy whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS 1) as determined by an FDA-approved test. 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.

Hepatocellular Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who have been previously treated with sorafenib. 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.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). 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.

Renal Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA, in combination with axitinib, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Tumor Mutational Burden-High

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with unresectable or metastatic tumor mutational burden-high (TMB-H) [10 mutations/megabase (mut/Mb)] solid tumors, as determined by an FDA-approved test, that have progressed following prior treatment and who have no satisfactory alternative treatment options. 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 TMB-H central nervous system cancers have not been established.

Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) that is not curable by surgery or radiation.

Selected Important Safety Information for KEYTRUDA

Immune-Mediated Pneumonitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated pneumonitis, including fatal cases. Pneumonitis occurred in 3.4% (94/2799) of patients with various cancers receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 1 (0.8%), 2 (1.3%), 3 (0.9%), 4 (0.3%), and 5 (0.1%). Pneumonitis occurred in 8.2% (65/790) of NSCLC patients receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent, including Grades 3-4 in 3.2% of patients, and occurred more frequently in patients with a history of prior thoracic radiation (17%) compared to those without (7.7%). Pneumonitis occurred in 6% (18/300) of HNSCC patients receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent, including Grades 3-5 in 1.6% of patients, and occurred in 5.4% (15/276) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with platinum and FU as first-line therapy for advanced disease, including Grades 3-5 in 1.5% of patients.

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.

Immune-Mediated Colitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated colitis. Colitis occurred in 1.7% (48/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.4%), 3 (1.1%), and 4 (<0.1%). 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.

Immune-Mediated Hepatitis (KEYTRUDA) and Hepatotoxicity (KEYTRUDA in Combination With Axitinib)

Immune-Mediated Hepatitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated hepatitis. Hepatitis occurred in 0.7% (19/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.4%), and 4 (<0.1%). 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.

Hepatotoxicity in Combination With Axitinib

KEYTRUDA in combination with axitinib can cause hepatic toxicity with higher than expected frequencies of Grades 3 and 4 ALT and AST elevations compared to KEYTRUDA alone. With the combination of KEYTRUDA and axitinib, Grades 3 and 4 increased ALT (20%) and increased AST (13%) were seen. Monitor liver enzymes before initiation of and periodically throughout treatment. Consider more frequent monitoring of liver enzymes as compared to when the drugs are administered as single agents. For elevated liver enzymes, interrupt KEYTRUDA and axitinib, and consider administering corticosteroids as needed.

Immune-Mediated Endocrinopathies

KEYTRUDA can cause adrenal insufficiency (primary and secondary), hypophysitis, thyroid disorders, and type 1 diabetes mellitus. Adrenal insufficiency occurred in 0.8% (22/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.3%), 3 (0.3%), and 4 (<0.1%). Hypophysitis occurred in 0.6% (17/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.2%), 3 (0.3%), and 4 (<0.1%). Hypothyroidism occurred in 8.5% (237/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (6.2%) and 3 (0.1%). The incidence of new or worsening hypothyroidism was higher in 1185 patients with HNSCC (16%) receiving KEYTRUDA, as a single agent or in combination with platinum and FU, including Grade 3 (0.3%) hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism occurred in 3.4% (96/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.8%) and 3 (0.1%), and thyroiditis occurred in 0.6% (16/2799) of patients, including Grade 2 (0.3%). Type 1 diabetes mellitus, including diabetic ketoacidosis, occurred in 0.2% (6/2799) of patients.

Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency, hypophysitis (including hypopituitarism), thyroid function (prior to and periodically during treatment), and hyperglycemia. For adrenal insufficiency or hypophysitis, administer corticosteroids and hormone replacement as clinically indicated. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2 adrenal insufficiency or hypophysitis and withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or Grade 4 adrenal insufficiency or hypophysitis. Administer hormone replacement for hypothyroidism and manage hyperthyroidism with thionamides and beta-blockers as appropriate. Withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 hyperthyroidism. Administer insulin for type 1 diabetes, and withhold KEYTRUDA and administer antihyperglycemics in patients with severe hyperglycemia.

Immune-Mediated Nephritis and Renal Dysfunction

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated nephritis. Nephritis occurred in 0.3% (9/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.1%), and 4 (<0.1%) nephritis. Nephritis occurred in 1.7% (7/405) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy. Monitor patients for changes in renal function. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater nephritis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; permanently discontinue for Grade 3 or 4 nephritis.

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Seattle Genetics and Merck Announce Two Strategic Oncology Collaborations - BioSpace

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Exosome Therapeutic Market (Covid 19 Impact Analysis) Data Highlighting Major Vendors, Promising Regions, Anticipated Growth Forecast To 2027 – Good…

By daniellenierenberg

Global Exosome Therapeutic Market By Type (Natural Exosomes, Hybrid Exosomes), Source (Dendritic Cells, Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Blood, Milk, Body Fluids, Saliva, Urine Others), Therapy (Immunotherapy, Gene Therapy, Chemotherapy), Transporting Capacity (Bio Macromolecules, Small Molecules), Application (Oncology, Neurology, Metabolic Disorders, Cardiac Disorders, Blood Disorders, Inflammatory Disorders, Gynecology Disorders, Organ Transplantation, Others), Route of administration (Oral, Parenteral), End User (Hospitals, Diagnostic Centers, Research & Academic Institutes), Geography (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America)

Exosome therapeutic market is expected to gain market growth in the forecast period of 2019 to 2026. Data Bridge Market Research analyses that the market is growing with a CAGR of 21.9% in the forecast period of 2019 to 2026 and expected to reach USD 31,691.52 million by 2026 from USD 6,500.00 million in 2018. Increasing prevalence of lyme disease, chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease and other chronic degenerative diseases are the factors for the market growth.

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Increased number of exosome therapeutics as compared to the past few years will accelerate the market growth. Companies are receiving funding for exosome therapeutic research and clinical trials. For instance, In September 2018, EXOCOBIO has raised USD 27 million in its series B funding. The company has raised USD 46 million as series a funding in April 2017. The series B funding will help the company to set up GMP-compliant exosome industrial facilities to enhance production of exosomes to commercialize in cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry.

This exosome therapeutic market report provides details of market share, new developments, and product pipeline analysis, impact of domestic and localised market players, analyses opportunities in terms of emerging revenue pockets, changes in market regulations, product approvals, strategic decisions, product launches, geographic expansions, and technological innovations in the market. To understand the analysis and the market scenario contact us for an Analyst Brief, our team will help you create a revenue impact solution to achieve your desired goal.

Increasing demand for anti-aging therapies will also drive the market. Unmet medical needs such as very few therapeutic are approved by the regulatory authority for the treatment in comparison to the demand in global exosome therapeutics market will hamper the market growth market. Availability of various exosome isolation and purification techniques is further creates new opportunities for exosome therapeutics as they will help company in isolation and purification of exosomes from dendritic cells, mesenchymal stem cells, blood, milk, body fluids, saliva, and urine and from others sources. Such policies support exosome therapeutic market growth in the forecast period to 2019-2026.

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Exosome is an extracellular vesicle which is released from cells, particularly from stem cells. Exosome functions as vehicle for particular proteins and genetic information and other cells. Exosome plays a vital role in the rejuvenation and communication of all the cells in our body while not themselves being cells at all. Research has projected that communication between cells is significant in maintenance of healthy cellular terrain. Chronic disease, age, genetic disorders and environmental factors can affect stem cells communication with other cells and can lead to distribution in the healing process.

The growth of the global exosome therapeutic market reflects global and country-wide increase in prevalence of autoimmune disease, chronic inflammation, Lyme disease and chronic degenerative diseases, along with increasing demand for anti-aging therapies. Additionally major factors expected to contribute in growth of the global exosome therapeutic market in future are emerging therapeutic value of exosome, availability of various exosome isolation and purification techniques, technological advancements in exosome and rising healthcare infrastructure.

The major players covered in the report are evox THERAPEUTICS, EXOCOBIO, Exopharm, AEGLE Therapeutics, United Therapeutics Corporation, Codiak BioSciences, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH, ReNeuron Group plc, Capricor Therapeutics, Avalon Globocare Corp., CREATIVE MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY HOLDINGS INC., Stem Cells Group among other players domestic and global. Exosome therapeutic market share data is available for Global, North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America separately. DBMR analysts understand competitive strengths and provide competitive analysis for each competitor separately.

The country section of the report also provides individual market impacting factors and changes in regulation in the market domestically that impacts the current and future trends of the market. Data points such as new sales, replacement sales, country demographics, regulatory acts and import-export tariffs are some of the major pointers used to forecast the market scenario for individual countries. Also, presence and availability of global brands and their challenges faced due to large or scarce competition from local and domestic brands, impact of sales channels are considered while providing forecast analysis of the country data.

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About Data Bridge Market Research:

An absolute way to forecast what future holds is to comprehend the trend today!

Data Bridge set forth itself as an unconventional and neoteric Market research and consulting firm with unparalleled level of resilience and integrated approaches. We are determined to unearth the best market opportunities and foster efficient information for your business to thrive in the market. Data Bridge endeavors to provide appropriate solutions to the complex business challenges and initiates an effortless decision-making process.

Contact:

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Exosome Therapeutic Market (Covid 19 Impact Analysis) Data Highlighting Major Vendors, Promising Regions, Anticipated Growth Forecast To 2027 - Good...

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Covid-19 Impact On Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) Market 2020 Is Thriving Globally With Horizon Discovery Ltd., Takara Bio Inc, Cell…

By daniellenierenberg

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) market is expected to gain market growth in the forecast period of 2020 to 2027. Data Bridge Market Research analyses the market to account to USD 2,442.97 million by 2027 growing at a CAGR of 7.5% in the above-mentioned forecast period. Increasing R&D investment activities is expected to create new opportunity for the market.

This induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) market report provides details of new recent developments, trade regulations, import export analysis, production analysis, value chain optimization, market share, impact of domestic and localised market players, analyses opportunities in terms of emerging revenue pockets, changes in market regulations, strategic market growth analysis, market size, category market growths, application niches and dominance, product approvals, product launches, geographic expansions, technological innovations in the market.

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Increasing demand for personalized regenerative cell therapies among medical researchers & healthcare is expected to enhance the market growth. Some of the other factors such as increasing cases of chronic diseases, growing awareness among patient, rising funding by government & private sectors and rising number of clinical trials is expected to drive the induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) market in the forecast period of 2020 to 2027.

Global Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) Market Scope and Market Size

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) market is segmented of the basis of derived cell type, application and end- user. The growth amongst these segments will help you analyse meagre growth segments in the industries, and provide the users with valuable market overview and market insights to help them in making strategic decisions for identification of core market applications.

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The countries covered in the induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) market report are U.S., Canada and Mexico in North America, Germany, France, U.K., Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Russia, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Rest of Europe in Europe, China, Japan, India, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Rest of Asia-Pacific (APAC) in the Asia-Pacific (APAC), Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, South Africa, Egypt, Israel, Rest of Middle East and Africa (MEA) as a part of Middle East and Africa (MEA), Brazil, Argentina and Rest of South America as part of South America.

The country section of the induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) market report also provides individual market impacting factors and changes in regulation in the market domestically that impacts the current and future trends of the market. Data points such as consumption volumes, production sites and volumes, import export analysis, price trend analysis, cost of raw materials, down-stream and upstream value chain analysis are some of the major pointers used to forecast the market scenario for individual countries. Also, presence and availability of global brands and their challenges faced due to large or scarce competition from local and domestic brands, impact of domestic tariffs and trade routes are considered while providing forecast analysis of the country data.

The major players covered in the induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) market report are Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., FUJIFILM Corporation, Horizon Discovery Ltd., Takara Bio Inc, Cell Applications, Inc., Lonza Group AG, Evotec A.G., ViaCyte, Inc., CELGENE CORPORATION, Fate Therapeutics, Astellas Pharma Inc., among other domestic and global players. Market share data is available for Global, North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific (APAC), Middle East and Africa (MEA) and South America separately. DBMR analysts understand competitive strengths and provide competitive analysis for each competitor separately.

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About Data Bridge Market Research:

An absolute way to forecast what future holds is to comprehend the trend today!

Data Bridge set forth itself as an unconventional and neoteric Market research and consulting firm with unparalleled level of resilience and integrated approaches. We are determined to unearth the best market opportunities and foster efficient information for your business to thrive in the market. Data Bridge endeavors to provide appropriate solutions to the complex business challenges and initiates an effortless decision-making process.

Contact:

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Covid-19 Impact On Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) Market 2020 Is Thriving Globally With Horizon Discovery Ltd., Takara Bio Inc, Cell...

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Global Stem Cell Reconstructive Market- Industry Analysis and Forecast (2020-2027) – Kewaskum Statesman News Journal

By daniellenierenberg

Global Stem Cell Reconstructive Marketwas valued US$ XX Mn in 2019 and is expected to reach US$ XX Mn by 2027, at a CAGR of 24.5% during a forecast period.

Market Dynamics

The Research Report gives an in-depth account of the drivers and restraints in the stem cell reconstructive market. Stem cell reconstructive surgery includes the treatment of injured or dented part of body. Stem cells are undifferentiated biological cells, which divide to produce more stem cells. Growing reconstructive surgeries led by the rising number of limbs elimination and implants and accidents are boosting the growth in the stem cell reconstructive market. Additionally, rising number of aged population, number of patients suffering from chronic diseases, and unceasing development in the technology, these are factors which promoting the growth of the stem cell reconstructive market. Stem cell reconstructive is a procedure containing the use of a patients own adipose tissue to rise the fat volume in the area of reconstruction and therefore helping 3Dimentional reconstruction in patients who have experienced a trauma or in a post-surgical event such as a mastectomy or lumpectomy, brain surgery, or reconstructive surgery as a result of an accident or injury. Stem cell reconstructive surgeries are also used in plastic or cosmetic surgeries as well. Stem cell and regenerative therapies gives many opportunities for development in the practice of medicine and the possibility of an array of novel treatment options for patients experiencing a variety of symptoms and conditions. Stem cell therapy, also recognised as regenerative medicine, promotes the repair response of diseased, dysfunctional or injured tissue using stem cells or their derivatives.

The common guarantee of all the undifferentiated embryonic stem cells (ESCs), foetal, amniotic, UCB, and adult stem cell types is their indefinite self-renewal capacity and high multilineage differentiation potential that confer them a primitive and dynamic role throughout the developmental process and the lifespan in adult mammal.However, the high expenditure of stem cell reconstructive surgeries and strict regulatory approvals are restraining the market growth.

The report study has analyzed revenue impact of covid-19 pandemic on the sales revenue of market leaders, market followers and disrupters in the report and same is reflected in our analysis.

Global Stem Cell Reconstructive Market Segment analysis

Based on Cell Type, the embryonic stem cells segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of XX% during the forecast period. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs), derived from the blastocyst stage of early mammalian embryos, are distinguished by their capability to distinguish into any embryonic cell type and by their ability to self-renew. Owing to their plasticity and potentially limitless capacity for self-renewal, embryonic stem cell therapies have been suggested for regenerative medicine and tissue replacement after injury or disease. Additionally, their potential in regenerative medicine, embryonic stem cells provide a possible another source of tissue/organs which serves as a possible solution to the donor shortage dilemma. Researchers have differentiated ESCs into dopamine-producing cells with the hope that these neurons could be used in the treatment of Parkinsons disease. Upsurge occurrence of cardiac and malignant diseases is promoting the segment growth. Rapid developments in this vertical contain protocols for directed differentiation, defined culture systems, demonstration of applications in drug screening, establishment of several disease models, and evaluation of therapeutic potential in treating incurable diseases.

Global Stem Cell Reconstructive Market Regional analysis

The North American region has dominated the market with US$ XX Mn. America accounts for the largest and fastest-growing market of stem cell reconstructive because of the huge patient population and well-built healthcare sector. Americas stem cell reconstructive market is segmented into two major regions such as North America and South America. More than 80% of the market is shared by North America due to the presence of the US and Canada.

Europe accounts for the second-largest market which is followed by the Asia Pacific. Germany and UK account for the major share in the European market due to government support for research and development, well-developed technology and high healthcare expenditure have fuelled the growth of the market. This growing occurrence of cancer and diabetes in America is the main boosting factor for the growth of this market.

The objective of the report is to present a comprehensive analysis of the Global Stem Cell Reconstructive Market including all the stakeholders of the industry. The past and current status of the industry with forecasted market size and trends are presented in the report with the analysis of complicated data in simple language. The report covers all the aspects of the industry with a dedicated study of key players that includes market leaders, followers and new entrants. PORTER, SVOR, PESTEL analysis with the potential impact of micro-economic factors of the market has been presented in the report. External as well as internal factors that are supposed to affect the business positively or negatively have been analysed, which will give a clear futuristic view of the industry to the decision-makers.

The report also helps in understanding Global Stem Cell Reconstructive Market dynamics, structure by analysing the market segments and projects the Global Stem Cell Reconstructive Market size. Clear representation of competitive analysis of key players by Application, price, financial position, Product portfolio, growth strategies, and regional presence in the Global Stem Cell Reconstructive Market make the report investors guide.Scope of the Global Stem Cell Reconstructive Market

Global Stem Cell Reconstructive Market, By Sources

Allogeneic Autologouso Bone Marrowo Adipose Tissueo Blood Syngeneic OtherGlobal Stem Cell Reconstructive Market, By Cell Type

Embryonic Stem Cell Adult Stem CellGlobal Stem Cell Reconstructive Market, By Application

Cancer Diabetes Traumatic Skin Defect Severe Burn OtherGlobal Stem Cell Reconstructive Market, By End-User

Hospitals Research Institute OthersGlobal Stem Cell Reconstructive Market, By Regions

North America Europe Asia-Pacific South America Middle East and Africa (MEA)Key Players operating the Global Stem Cell Reconstructive Market

Osiris Therapeutics NuVasives Cytori Therapeutics Takeda (TiGenix) Cynata Celyad Medi-post Anterogen Molmed Baxter Eleveflow Mesoblast Ltd. Micronit Microfluidics TAKARA BIO INC. Tigenix Capricor Therapeutics Astellas Pharma US, Inc. Pfizer Inc. STEMCELL Technologies Inc.

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Global Stem Cell Reconstructive Market- Industry Analysis and Forecast (2020-2027) - Kewaskum Statesman News Journal

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Could COVID-19 have long-term effect on athletes’ health? – The Japan Times

By daniellenierenberg

While the sports world has attempted to prevent infections of COVID-19 and reduce its spread, some have raised concerns over the potential long-term consequences for athletes who have already been infected.

The virus has hit a number of star athletes. In Japan alone, Shintaro Fujinami of the Hanshin Tigers, Hayato Sakamoto of the Yomiuri Giants and Gotoku Sakai of the J. Leagues Vissel Kobe are among those who have tested positive.

Australian Mitch Langerak, a goalkeeper for Nagoya Grampus, became one of the J. Leagues first positive cases in early June. Fortunately he was asymptomatic and subsequently returned to the pitch when the leagues top flight resumed its season on July 4.

For me, it was a bit of a shock it was a major shock, Langerak told the Japan Times last month. (But) I didnt feel anything. I didnt feel any different. But I guess Im part of the exceptions, not the rule. I was very lucky.

As soon as I got out I tested negative twice, so I was OK to leave the hospital I was straight into training and within two days I was feeling strong and feeling back into it.

But in actuality, Langeraks experience is common among athletes in Japan who have tested positive for COVID-19, leaving some local medical officials optimistic about a lower risk of long-term effects. Yet the potential threat of reduced respiratory or pulmonary function looms large for those whose careers rely on being able to physically compete at the highest level.

Kentaro Iwata, professor of infectious disease at Kobe University, believes that athletes do not have to worry about whether the virus could severely affect their athletic performances after recovery.

Its evident if you look at the data: Athletes have been infected around the world, but the virus has barely caused any impact (on their post-recovery performances), Iwata said. In most cases, regardless of the sport, symptoms are mild and athletes recover naturally and return to their competitions. From the medical standpoint, there isnt much to be afraid of as far as athlete infections are concerned.

Iwata even described the virus as nearly harmless for healthy, young people, which can be used to describe most professional-level athletes, too.

Because the disease presents symptoms when the virus reaches a persons respiratory tract, it poses a possible risk to an athletes performance if their lungs are damaged as a result.

Iwata did not exclude the possibility, but described it as unlikely and said most people would face few or no symptoms during their recovery.

Vissel Kobes Gotoku Sakai has been infected with it, said Iwata, who is a fan of the Kansai-based soccer team. But after he received medical treatment and recovered, hes been running around at his highest level possible, playing twice a week or so.

There arent almost any problems with cardiopulmonary functions thats how its viewed generally. Im not going to deny that (a problem) could happen, though.

Kentaro Iwata, professor of infectious disease at Kobe University, believes athletes shouldnt fear long-term effects after recovering from the virus. | KAZ NAGATSUKA

Haruo Nakayama, a neurosurgeon and an infectious disease specialist for Toho University, did not rule out the possibility that the virus could affect respiratory systems long-term, even though currently available evidence is not yet conclusive.

The effect of the virus on respiratory systems after patients no longer need to be hospitalized has not been scientifically examined, Nakayama said. But when we observe the pictures of those infected and the symptoms that they claim after they are discharged, some of them have claimed to be physically worn out for a while, or it gets harder for them to exert themselves more than usual.

Thats not just older people, but there are some in their 20s and 30s claiming the same things.

Nakayama explained that the coronavirus could cause fibrosis in the lungs, causing the organs to lose flexibility.

If the lungs lose their flexibility, it could affect the cardiopulmonary functions of athletes and I would say the chance of that happening is not zero, he said.

Underlying medical conditions such as Type-1 diabetes, heart failure and respiratory disease can exacerbate the symptoms of the virus. Referring to Hanshin pitcher Minoru Iwata and Vissels Sergi Samper, who both are diabetic, Kentaro Iwata stated that high-risk patients, including those undergoing dialysis or using immunosuppressants or cariostatic drugs could be at risk for more severe symptoms.

To that end, Iwata criticized the participation of swimmer Rikako Ikee, who is recovering from leukemia, in a July event marking one year before the postponed Olympics at the National Stadium.

She had leukemia and (hematopoietic stem cell transplantation) and must have had so many immunosuppressive drugs, which made her weaker to infectious diseases, not just to the coronavirus, Iwata said. Im very angry with the people that brought her out to say something like Lets hope to have a (successful) Olympics next year. I think thats cruel.

While Iwata draws a positive image of athletes post-infection performances, team medical staff working directly with athletes as well as overseas medical officials who have dealt with higher numbers of severe cases have stronger concerns over potential long-term implications.

Nobuhisa Yoshida, a sports science and performance director for the B. Leagues Sunrockers Shibuya, said that athletes with more severe symptoms, if hospitalized for two to three weeks and quarantined further upon release, could require more time to return to their peak condition after experiencing decreases in activity levels and cardiopulmonary functions.

And if (their time away from training) gets longer, it could cause a decline in the volume of muscle and muscle strength as well as slower reflexes, said Yoshida, who previously worked as an athletic performance assistant for the NBAs San Antonio Spurs.

The level of effects from the coronavirus could vary depending on athletes situations as well physical conditions can differ greatly depending on whether they are in or out of season.

If an athlete gets infected during the season, their fatigue level is higher, Yoshida said. So you (as a medical staffer) try to develop the athletes physical condition steadily. If you can check the degree of the athletes physical decline based on data, you can check their readiness and make sure to bring it to where he can finally play, then give him a green light.

Grampus goalkeeper Mitch Langerak (right) made a quick return to training after recovering from COVID-19 in June. | KYODO

Overseas, an increase in residual damage to coronavirus patients hearts and lungs have spurred studies on the viruss potential long-term consequences.

John Swartzberg, a clinical professor emeritus of infectious diseases and vaccinology at the University of California, Berkeley, told the schools news portal in July that the virus seems to accelerate a great deal of scarring in the lungs.

Swartzberg also said that COVID-19 can directly attack heart muscle cells, and that the cytokine storm an excessive release of molecules that trigger an inflammatory response by the body caused by the coronavirus can hurt the heart as well as the lungs. He stated that there is evidence both for and against long-term damage.

We dont know what the long-term effects of that may be, Swartzberg said. But it could be that we will have a population of people who survive COVID-19 only to go on and have chronic cardiac problems.

Swartzberg referred to the central nervous system and the kidneys as other organs that could potentially be damaged by the virus.

Myocarditis inflammation of the heart muscle has been linked to the coronavirus in reports in the United States and Europe.

Some athletes in the U.S. and Europe have reported persistent and residual symptoms, such as coughs, tachycardia and fatigue, many weeks to months after initial coronavirus infections.

These potential post-COVID-19 effects do not seem to have been discussed widely in Japan, where the focus has been on the number of infections and the death toll. In the U.S. and Europe, officials have debated the necessities of pathways for athletes to return to intensive practices and competitions, including heart and lung screenings.

Nakayama admitted that the lack of such discussion within the Japanese sports community was in part due to a lack of sufficient evidence.

But Nakayama who serves as the executive adviser of the B. Leagues anti-coronavirus team said that the group has internally discussed the potential damage athletes face, although it has not been able to specify them in the leagues guidelines.

He said that if two-thirds of an infected athletes lungs are damaged when they are hospitalized, it can easily be inferred that their performance post-recovery will be infected.

And whether the athletes performance would get back to normal after working on rehab and all that, half a year or nine months later? Thats something we are going to find out later, Nakayama said. We dont know yet.

Staff writer Dan Orlowitz contributed to this story.

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Post-COVID heart damage alarms researchers: ‘There was a black hole’ in infected cells – Yahoo Sports

By daniellenierenberg

Shelby Hedgecock contracted the coronavirus in April and thought she had fought through the worst of it the intense headaches, severe gastrointestinal distress and debilitating fatigue but early last month she started experiencing chest pain and a pounding heartbeat. Her doctor put her on a cardiac monitor and ordered blood tests, which indicated that the previously healthy 29-year-old had sustained heart damage, likely from her bout with COVID-19.

I never thought I would have to worry about a heart attack at 29 years old, Hedgecock told Yahoo News in an interview. I didnt have any complications before COVID-19 no preexisting conditions, no heart issues. I can deal with my taste and smell being dull, I can fight through the debilitating fatigue, but your heart has to last you a really long time.

Hedgecocks primary-care physician has referred her to a cardiologist she will see this week; the heart monitor revealed that Hedgecocks pulse rate is wildly irregular, ranging from 49 to 189 beats per minute, and she has elevated inflammatory markers and platelet counts. She was told to go to the emergency room if her chest pain intensifies before she can see the specialist. A former personal trainer who is now out of breath just from walking around the room, Hedgecock is worried about what the future holds.

She is far from alone in her struggle. Dr. Ossama Samuel is a cardiologist at New Yorks Mount Sinai Hospital, where he routinely sees coronavirus survivors who are contending with cardiac complications. Samuel said his team has treated three young and otherwise healthy coronavirus patients who have developed myocarditis an inflammation of the heart muscle weeks to months after recovering from the virus.

Shelby Hedgecock in a hospital bed. (Shelby Hedgecock)

Myocarditis can affect how the heart pumps blood and trigger rapid or abnormal heart rhythms. It is particularly dangerous for athletes, doctors say, because it can go undetected and can result in a heart attack during strenuous exercise. In recent weeks, some collegiate athletes have reported cardiac complications from the coronavirus, underscoring the seriousness of the condition.

Last month, former Florida State basketball center Michael Ojo died from a heart attack in Serbia; Ojo had recovered from the coronavirus before he collapsed on the basketball court. An Ohio State University cardiologist found that between 10 and 13 percent of university athletes who had recovered from COVID-19 had myocarditis.When the Big Ten athletic conference announced the cancellation of its season last month, Commissioner Kevin Warren cited the risk of heart failure in athletes. Researchers have estimated that up to 20 percent of people who get the coronavirus sustain heart damage.

Samuel said he feels an obligation to warn people, particularly since some of the patients he and Mount Sinai colleagues have seen with myocarditis had only mild cases of the coronavirus months ago.

We are now seeing people three months after COVID who have pericarditis [inflammation of the sac around the heart] or myocarditis, Samuel said. He said he believes a small fraction of coronavirus survivors are sustaining heart damage, but when a disease is so widespread it is concerning that a tiny fraction is still sizable.

Samuel said he worries particularly about athletes participating in team sports, since many live together and spend time in close quarters. Teammates may all get the coronavirus and recover together, Samuel said, but the one who really gets that crazy myocarditis could be at risk of dying through exercise or training.

Story continues

Its a concern about what do you do: Should we do sports in general, should we do it in schools, should we do it in college, should we just do it for professionals who understand the risk and they're getting paid? Samuel asked. I hope we dont scare the public, but we should make people aware.

Samuel is recommending that patients recovering from COVID-19 with myocarditis avoid workouts for three to six months.

Todd McDevitt, who runs a stem-cell lab at Gladstone Institutes, which is affiliated with the University of California at San Francisco, recently published images that show how the coronavirus can directly invade the heart muscle. McDevitt said he was so alarmed when he saw a sample of heart muscle cells in a petri dish get diced by the coronavirus that he had trouble sleeping for nights afterward.

Todd McDevitt. (Facebook)

McDevitt said his teams research was spurred by their desire to understand if the coronavirus is entering heart cells and how it is affecting them. He was surprised to see the heart muscle samples he was studying react to a very small amount of the coronavirus, usually within 24 to 48 hours. He said the virus decimated the heart cells in his petri dishes.

Cell nuclei the hubs of all the genetic information, all of the nuclear DNA in many of the cells were gone, McDevitt said. There was a black hole literally where we would normally see the nuclear DNA. Thats also pretty bizarre.

While McDevitts study has not yet been peer-reviewed it is still in pre-print he said he felt compelled to share the findings as soon as possible. He said his team also sampled tissues from three COVID-19 patient autopsies and found similar damage in the heart muscles of those patients, none of whom had been flagged for myocarditis or heart problems while they were alive.

This is probably not the whole story yet, but we think we have insights into the beginning of when the virus would get into some of these people and what it might be doing that is concerning enough that we should probably let people know, because clinicians need to be thinking about this, McDevitt said in an interview. We dont have any means of bringing heart muscle back. ... This virus is [causing] a very different type of injury, and one we haven't seen before.

McDevitt said the chopped-up heart muscles he and his colleagues saw are so concerning because when the microfibers in the muscle are damaged, the heart cant properly contract.

If heart muscle cells are damaged and they cant regenerate themselves, then what youre looking at is someone who could prematurely have heart failure or heart disease due to the virus, McDevitt said. This could be a warning sign for a potential wave of heart disease that we could see in the future, and its in the survivors thats the concern.

McDevitt said he believes the risk of heart disease is serious and one people should consider as they assess their own risk of getting the coronavirus.

I am more scared today of contracting the virus, by far, than I was four months ago, he said.

In lab experiments, infection of heart muscle cells with SARS-CoV-2 caused long fibers to break apart into small pieces, shown above. (Gladstone)

The medical journal the Lancet recently reported that an 11-year-old child had died of myocarditis and heart failure after a bout of COVID-induced multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). An autopsy showed coronavirus embedded in the childs cardiac tissue.

A recent study from Germany found that 78 percent of patients who had recovered from the coronavirus and who had only mild to moderate symptoms while ill with the disease had indications of cardiac involvement on MRIs conducted more than two months after their initial infection.Lead investigator Eike Nagel said it is concerning to see such widespread cardiac impact; six in 10 of the patients Nagels team studied experienced ongoing myocardial inflammation.

We found an astonishingly high level of cardiac involvement approximately two months after COVID infection, Nagel said in an email. These changes are much milder than observed in patients with severe acute myocarditis.

The scale of the cardiac impact on relatively healthy, young patients surprised many doctors. Nagel said the findings are significant on a population basis, and that the impact of COVID-19 on the heart must be studied more.

Dr. Gregg Fonarow. (UCLA)

Dr. Gregg Fonarow, chief of UCLAs Division of Cardiology and director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center, said the picture is evolving, but the new studies showing cardiac impact in even young people with mild cases of COVID-19 have raised troubling new questions.

We really do need to take seriously individuals that have had the infection and are having continued symptoms, [and] not just dismiss those symptoms, Fonarow said. There could be, in those who had milder or even asymptomatic cases, the potential for cardiac risk.

Fonarow said it is important to understand whether a more proactive screening and treatment approach is needed to better address the needs of patients who have recovered from the coronavirus and who may still have weakened heart function. Fonarow said he found McDevitts research to be potentially significant because it proves from a mechanistic standpoint that there can be direct cardiac injury from the virus itself.

Even if it were going to impact, say, 2 percent of the people that had COVID-19, when you think of the millions that have been infected, that ends up in absolute terms being a very large number of individuals, Fonarow said in an interview. You dont want people to be unduly alarmed, but on the other hand you dont want individuals to be complacent about, Oh, the mortality rate is so low with COVID-19, I dont really care if Im infected because the chances that it will immediately or in the next few weeks kill me is small enough, I dont need to be concerned. There are other consequences.

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Covid-19 Impact on Global Progenitor Cell Product Market 2020 Industry Opportunities And Development Analysis 2026: NeuroNova AB,R&D Systems,Asterias…

By daniellenierenberg

The aim of this detailed market research report on Progenitor Cell Product market is to offer readers, with ample competitive edge in the context of market dynamics such as challenges, barriers, threats and opportunities that orchestrate high end growth amidst stringent competition in global Progenitor Cell Product market.

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Major Company Profiles operating in the Progenitor Cell Product Market:

NeuroNova ABR&D SystemsAsterias BiotherapeuticsStemCellsAxol BioReNeuron LimitedATCCSTEMCELL TechnologiesThermo Fisher ScientificLonzaIrvine ScientificCDI

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By the product type, the market is primarily split into:

Pancreatic progenitor cellsCardiac Progenitor CellsIntermediate progenitor cellsNeural progenitor cells (NPCs)Endothelial progenitor cells (EPC)Others

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Medical careHospitalLaboratory

Owing to the sudden onset of global pandemic with the COVID-19 outrage in place, Orbis Pharma Reports analysts and dedicated research personnel have assigned a specific section evaluating the various implications and explaining the aftermath of the pandemic affecting diverse trends, developments as well as also categorically focusing on various opportunities emerging during the pandemic. The section is aimed at allowing market players to devise winning growth plans to secure profit even amidst the pandemic in Progenitor Cell Product market.

We are a team of young, mindful, agile research experts who pursue a fact-based approach to decode all relevant market specific information, required to harness superlative reader understanding about various marker facets that lead towards unhindered growth prognosis. Our flagship expertise in scavenging through various facets of market development and key perspectives are in place to unleash industry patterns to design and develop a future-ready market study that unravels information based on which report readers can well devise profit oriented business decisions that fetch highly profitable investment returns, favoring market participants.At Orbis Pharma Reports we categorically offer expert market research-oriented services across a heterogenous range of industrial participants, such as manufacturing companies, corporations, product development companies, who stand in greater need of market specific information.

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David Shavelle, MD, Named Medical Director of Adult Cardiology for the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Medical Center -…

By daniellenierenberg

Dr. Shavelle, a Millikan High School (Long Beach, Calif.) graduate, is returning to Long Beach with more than 20 years of cardiology practice, research leadership, and teaching experience. He joins Long Beach Medical Center from Keck Medical Center at the University of Southern California, where he served as the Director of Interventional Cardiology while leading a multitude of clinical research trials, including several focused on implanted devices for heart failure. He plans on increasing the availability of clinical research trials for cardiology patients at Long Beach Medical Center.

"The MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute has a rich history of research and pioneering new treatment techniques," says Ike Mmeje, chief operating officer, Long Beach Medical Center.

"Dr. Shavelle's passion for research makes him a perfect fit to continue that legacy and find the next cutting-edge treatment for our cardiology patients."

MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute facilities are among the most comprehensive centers for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of cardiac disease, providing groundbreaking care for complex heart conditions, including myocardial infarction, heart failure, arrhythmias and peripheral vascular disease. In addition to his hopes to expand research opportunities, Dr. Shavelle plans on expanding the programs for heart failure and structural heart disease.

"I am excited to join the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Medical Center," says Dr. Shavelle. "My dad was a physician here, and many of my mentors and fellows are at Long Beach Medical Center. I'm looking forward to creating more collaboration among cardiologists, surgeons, residents and the entire team to expand the already comprehensive cardiology care available to the community."

After earning his medical degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Dr. Shavelle completed his internal medicine internship and residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He completed General Cardiology Fellowship at the University of Washington and Interventional Cardiology Fellowship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center/Good Samaritan Hospital. Dr. Shavelle served as Associate Professor at both the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. He alsoserveson the editorial boards for the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Current Medical Research and Opinion and Cardiology Clinics.

The MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute delivering nearly 20,000 cardiovascular diagnostic tests and treatments last year continues to push the boundaries of discovery with many "firsts." These began 70 years ago when world-renowned cardiologist, researcher and educator, the late Mervyn Ellestad, M.D., co-invented at Long Beach Medical Center the modern-day maximum stress test to detect heart disease. Today, millions of exercise stress tests performed annually save hundreds of thousands of lives globally.

"It is amazing how the field of cardiology has grown and how many treatment options are available through minimally invasive techniques," says Dr. Shavelle. "Many of these new treatment options have come from research trials, and I'm looking forward to expanding the opportunities for patients in the Long Beach area. The studies we have in the pipeline include trials with stem cells and heart failure devices."

About MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center:MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center has been providing the community with compassionate, quality health care for more than 100 years. While leading in specialized care, research and education, Long Beach Medical Center uses the most advanced health care technologies it is the only hospital in L.A. County with the innovative ExactechGPS and ExcelsiusGPS surgical systems. Long Beach Medical Center is ranked no. 7 in the Los Angeles Metro Area by U.S. News & World Report and has earned Magnet recognition for nursing excellence. With leading centers for cancer, heart, rehabilitation, orthopedics, neurology and trauma, physicians and surrounding hospitals continually refer to its accredited programs. For more information, visit memorialcare.org/LongBeach.

SOURCE MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center

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Tweet Chat Recap: Evaluating Treatment Approaches for Relapsed/Refractory DLBCL – Targeted Oncology

By daniellenierenberg

Targeted Oncology was joined by Kami J. Maddocks, MD, associate professor of clinical internal medicine, Division of Hematology, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer CenterJames, for the discussion of a 76-year-old man with relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) in a recent tweet chat. In this case scenario, the patient presented with stage IV high-risk disease and received R-CHOP (Rituximab [Rituxan], cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisone), and radiotherapy.

Although the treatment appeared well-tolerated, the patient presented with similar symptoms as at diagnosis after completing 6 cycles with complete response to the therapy. According to the work-up, the patient is ineligible for transplant.

The patient was ineligible for stem cell transplantation (SCT), which Maddocks speculates may be due to the patients age, although other considerations could include comorbidities or intolerance to R-CHOP. Eligibility is the first thing she considers for her patients as it is currently the standard of care and the only curative approach for patients to receive salvage chemotherapy followed by consolidation with autologous SCT.

Maddocks told Targeted Oncology, In some patient cases, [the reason for ineligibility] is age even though there's no specific age cutoff, but we know that it's harder on the marrow as patients get older to collect stem cells and get that aggressive salvage chemotherapy. Patient comorbidities [can also impact eligibility], so heart conditions, lung conditions, renal insufficiency can be a problem. Performance status and then lastly, just if the patient had trouble getting to their initial chemotherapy with R-CHOP or had a lot of complications, then it's probably going to be harder for them to tolerate even more aggressive or intensive therapy.

In a twitter poll ahead of the chat, Targeted Oncology asked what the next best line of therapy for this patient might be, with 4 potential different treatment options. The option that drew the most attention, however, was the recently approved regimen of tafasitamab (Monjuvi) and lenalidomide (Revlimid).

Maddocks tweeted, All these options are potential therapeutic choices for this patient, but the combination of tafasitamab/lenalidomide is the only option approved in this setting. The treatment has a promising ORR [overall response rate], and CR [complete response], and the remissions for patients who respond are durable!

During the tweet chat, Maddocks reviewed each of the different treatment options in the poll, and why she selected this combination regimen as the next best line of therapy for this particular patient. Following the chat, she spoke with Targeted Oncology to share further insights on each of these therapeutic approaches and the importance of the FDAs approval of tafasitamab plus lenalidomide in this setting.

The combination of tafasitamab plus lenalidomide held the majority vote, which Maddocks agreed would be the next best line of therapy for this patient.

For patients who are not candidates or considered eligible for a salvage chemotherapy followed by autologous SCT, the tafasitamab/lenalidomide combination was recently approved in the setting of first relapse, and it's the only approved therapy in this setting, Maddocks said. Historically, we would give some sort of palliative chemotherapy approach if patients were candidates and interested in pursuing therapy, or consideration of clinical trial, but this is the only therapy approved in this setting.

The approval of tafasitamab in combination with lenalidomide includes an indication for patients who are not eligible for autologous SCT, as describes the patient in our case. This regimen was approved on the basis of the phase 2 L-MIND (NCT02399085) clinical trial, which explored this use of this regimen in 81 patients with relapsed/refractory DLBCL. Two-year follow-up demonstrated an ORR of 58.5%, which included CRs in 41.3% of patients and partial responses (PRs) in 17.5% of patients. In addition, 15.0% achieved stable disease, and the median duration of response was 34.6 months (95% CI, 26.1-34.6).1

I think this patient case is the perfect example of where this can fit into the treatment landscape, Maddocks explained. For patients who first relapse from the standard R-CHOP therapy, the toxicities were generally manageable, and with the response rate, this is a great option for patients at first relapse who are not going to be candidates for a transplant. I think maybe patients who go on to get palliative chemotherapy or maybe patients who get treatment with plans to go to transplant but just don't tolerate it and dont look like they're going to [undergo] aggressive therapy, this may be an option for those patients too, understanding that there is some role for CAR T in a set of those patients.

This study, which was presented during the 25th Congress of the European Hematology Association (EHA), demonstrated that the majority of toxicities were hematologic, and most were reversible. The most common grade 3 hematologic treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) were neutropenia in 49.4% of patients, thrombocytopenia in 17.3%, and febrile neutropenia in 13.2%.1

These were able to be managed by holding the dose growth factor, and there was a population of patients who had to be dose-reduced on the lenalidomide. The starting dose was 25 mg, so the majority were able to maintain 20 mg if they were dose-reduced, although a few had to be reduced more than once, Maddocks said. The most common grade 3/4 or serious AEs were infection, probably not surprisingly, and overall, that's probably similar to what you see with other options in this setting. There was a small number of infusion reactions, but these were all grade 1 in the trial and were easily managed.

Non-hematologic TEAEs of grade 3 included pneumonia in 8.6% of patients and hypokalemia in 6.2%. Serious AEs reported included pneumonia in 8.6%, febrile neutropenia in 6.2%, and pulmonary embolism in 3.7%, as well as bronchitis, lower respiratory tract infection, atrial fibrillation, and congestive cardiac failure in 2.5% each.1

Given the safety profile of this combination of tafasitamab plus lenalidomide, this regimen is particularly suitable for a large proportion of patients with DLBCL, Gilles Salles, MD, PhD, lead author of L-MIND, toldTargeted Oncology. We do know that the median age of occurrence of DLBCL is in the late 60s, and there are many, many patients that are over 70 and that are not usually transplant eligible. Clearly this is a great opportunity for patients to receive this non-cytotoxic regimen.

Although this regimen is an exciting opportunity for patients with DLBCL and relapsed/refractory disease, 1 challenge that needs to be addressed is the potential use of tafasitamab plus lenalidomide in sequence with CAR T-cell therapy. There is very little experience, if any, of patients receiving the combination regimen after receiving CAR T-cell therapy. The combination and CAR T cells both target the same antigen, CD19, which can be problematic. As its known that some patients will lose CD19 expression on CAR T-cell therapy, the regimen may no longer be an effective treatment option.

For those patients that had failed CAR T-cell therapy, substantial proportions, about 30% of them, may have lost CD19 expression and then may not be eligible anymore for this regimen. There is, however, a substantial proportion of patients that retains CD19 and in whom tafasitamab/lenalidomide can be used as a treatment option, Salles commented.

A large proportion of patients will maintain CD19 expression following CAR T-cell therapy, so tafasitamab plus lenalidomide may still be effective in a percentage of patients.

Its hard to say because we dont have a lot of data, but we do know there are other CD19-directed therapies outside of CAR T cell development, Maddocks told Targeted Oncology. I think in the next few years, were going to see patients treated both pre- and post-CAR T with other CD19-directed therapies, and well have more information on this.

The combination of polatuzumab vedotin (Polivy) plus bendamustine (Bendeka) and rituximab (BR) was approved by the FDA as treatment of patients with relapsed/refractory DLBCL after 2 prior lines of therapy in June 2019 based on the findings from the phase 1b/2 GO29365 (NCT02257567) clinical trial. Although this option is also not FDA-approved for the treatment of patients after first relapse, Maddocks noted that this was the only treatment evaluated in a randomized trial. The study had included patients who were ineligible for transplant.

Significant improvements were observed with polatuzumab vedotin plus BR compared with BR alone in an international, multicenter, open-label study, particularly in regard to the ORR, CRs, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS). CRs were observed in 40.0% of the patients with the combination versus 17.5% with BR alone. Survival rates favored the combination as well, with a median PFS of 9.5 months with the combination versus 3.7 months with BR alone (HR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.21-0.63; P <.001) and a median OS of 12.4 months versus 4.7 months (HR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.24-0.75; P =.002), respectively.2

The addition of polatuzumab did increase toxicity from the standpoint of cytopenias, but that didn't really translate to increased serious infections. It did add neuropathy as a side effect, but most of that was reversible, so I think this was a regimen that, by the addition of polatuzumab, was something that you could offer patients that did give them somewhat of a better overall response and was more durable than just giving them a palliative chemotherapy alone, Maddocks added. This is also a regimen that's been used in patients who were not able to achieve a remission to bridge them to CAR T or in some patients after CAR T, and so I can understand why this was definitely one of the more favorable choices.

In the study, grade 3/4 neutropenia was observed more frequently in the combination arm (42.6%) compared with the BR alone arm (33.3%), but the occurrence of grade 3/4 infections was comparable between the 2 groups (23.1% vs. 20.5%, respectively). In addition, the study authors noted that although many of the fatal AEs occurred after disease progression, 11 patients in the BR arm experienced fatal AEs compared with 9 in the combination arm, infection being the most common, which was the cause in 4 patients in each arm.2

Although the regimen appeared tolerable in this setting, Maddocks tweeted, it is more attractive than chemotherapy alone and understandable why it was chosen [as the second-best option in the Twitter poll].

Among the treatment options considered in our twitter poll ahead of the tweet chat, selinexor (Xpovio) only caught the attention of 16.7% of voters, similar to CAR T-cell therapy. However, both of these options are currently only approved in patients who have received at least 2 prior lines of therapy, which this case did not.

In regard to selinexor in particular, Maddocks tweeted, Looking at the single arm phase 2 data, it also has the lowest overall response rates of all the options listed with an ORR of 28%.

Selinexor received its approval from the FDA in June 2020, which is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed/refractory DLBCL, not otherwise specified, who have received at least 2 prior systemic therapies. This is the only oral single-agent therapy approved in this setting, and it is also the only nuclear export inhibitor approved by the FDA for use in hematologic malignancies.

The agent was approved on the basis of the phase 2b SADAL clinical trial, which demonstrated an ORR of 29% with 13% CRs and 16% PRs. The responses achieved in the study were durable, which led to a median duration of response of 9.2 months in the overall population (95% CI, 4.8-23.0) and 13.5 months in those who had achieved a CR (95% CI, 9.3-23.0).3

The most common treatment-related AEs were cytopenias and gastrointestinal/constitutional symptoms, which were generally reversible and manageable with dose modifications and/or standard supportive care approaches. The most common on-hematologic AEs, which were mostly grade 1/2, were nausea (52.8%), fatigue (37.8%), and anorexia (34.6%). The most common grade 3/4 AEs included thrombocytopenia (39.4%), neutropenia (20.5%), and anemia (13.4%). No treatment-related grade 5 AEs were observed.

CAR T-cell therapy, on the other hand, offers a unique option to this patient case even though it is still only approved in patients who have progressed or relapsed after 2 prior therapies or SCT. The TRANSCEND-PILOT-017006 (NCT03483103) study is evaluating the potential for CAR T-cell therapy lisocabtagene maraleucel (liso-cel) as treatment of patients with relapsed/refractory aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma who have received at least 1 prior therapy and are ineligible for SCT. While this does appear promising for introducing CAR T-cell therapy earlier on for patients with DLBCL, the treatment is not available off trial and is not a standard approach.

Maddocks told Targeted Oncology, It's very clear who's eligible for autologous transplant by age and comorbidities, but with CAR T, it's not so clear all the time who is going to be a candidate. There's not as great of data or information on who is going to be a candidate for that or not. Probably more patients are going to be a candidate for transplant, but there is still going to be patients that are comorbidities that they're not going to be a candidate for CAR T cells, and while they're approved in this setting and they can be very effective, there's also logistical issues, including that right now there's only certain centers, most often transplant centers, that are able to administer CAR T cells, so the patient has to have access to a center, they have to be able to get through the time that their leukapheresis cells are sent out and then sent back, and there's still barriers to cost and insurance in some patients, too.

This particular patient case does represent a challenge, Maddocks said. Historically, this is not a patient that's going to be a candidate for an autologous SCT, and that's going to be the only curative approach. CAR T is not approved in this setting, which is the other curative approach we know outside of patients who are unable to get to autologous STC, or at least appears to be likely curative for a percentage of patients.

Overall, CAR T-cell therapy is not a viable treatment option for the patient depicted in our tweet chat discussion, although it can still offer curative opportunities to a select group of patients with DLBCL who are ineligible for transplant.

In conclusion, tafasitamab plus lenalidomide helps fulfill the unmet need of patients who are in first relapse but are ineligible for transplant, which is the only curative option for patients with relapsed/refractory DLBCL. Although CAR T cells appear hopeful in this space, more research needs to be done to further determine their role in the treatment paradigm.

When you look at relapsed DLBCL, in general, and have these options, it's exciting for our patients to be able to have these. All of these have come up in the last 1 to 2 years, CAR T being a little bit longer than the other 3 regimens, but they all have offered patients tolerable therapy in the setting of previously not having these options.

Reference

1. Salles G, Duell J, Gonzlez-Barca E, et al. Long-term outcomes from the phase II L-MIND study of Tafasitamab (MOR208) plus lenalidomide in patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Presented at: Presented at: EHA25 Virtual; June 11-21, 2020. Abstract EP1201.

2. Sehn LH, Herrera AF, Flowers CR, et al. Polatuzumab Vedotin in Relapsed or Refractory Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma.J Clin Oncol. 2019;38(2):155-165. doi: 10.1200/JCO.19.00172

3. Kalakonda N, Cavallo F, Follows G, et al. A phase 2b study of selinexor in patients with relapsed/refractory (r/r) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).Hematol Oncol. 2019;37(S2). doi: 10.1002/hon.31_2629

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Tweet Chat Recap: Evaluating Treatment Approaches for Relapsed/Refractory DLBCL - Targeted Oncology

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How the coronavirus causes ‘carnage’ in the heart – The Daily Briefing

By daniellenierenberg

New research shows that the novel coronavirus can essentially dice the muscle fibers of the human heart into pieces, sparking concerns about the potential for heart failure among Covid-19 survivors, Elizabeth Cooney reports for STAT News.

Resources to support your CV telehealth strategy

For the study, which was published preprint on bioRxiv and has not yet been peer reviewed, researchers added the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, to three types of human heart cellscardiomyocytes, cardiac fibroblasts, and endothelial cellsthat were grown in lab dishes from stem cells.

Only the cardiomyocytes, which are muscle cells, showed indication of viral infection that spread to other muscle cells, the researchers said. However, what they found in the infected cells was remarkable: The sarcomeres, which are the long muscle fibers that keep the heart beating, had been sliced into small bits. According to the researchers, the fibers looked as if they had been surgically sliced.

The researchers also found black holes where DNA was supposed to be in the nucleus of the infected cells. The researchers said they found similar, but not identical, changes when they observed autopsy specimens from patients with Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

It's unclear whether the heart is able to reassemble the sarcomeres after they're severed, but that might be possible after the coronavirus infection clears, the researchers said. However, the researchers said they felt an urgency to share their results as quickly as possible, because their findings may help to further scientists' understanding of how the coronavirus causes heart damagesand possibly how to prevent or treat the injuries.

"When we saw this disruption in those microfibers that was when we made the decision to pull the trigger and put out this preprint," Todd McDevitt, a senior investigator at Gladstone Institutes and a co-author of the study, said. "I'm not a scientist who likes to stoke these things [but] I did not sleep, honestly, while we were finishing this paper and putting it out there."

Bruce Conklin, also a senior investigator at Gladstone and a co-author of the study, said the virus caused "carnage in the human cells" unlike anything seen with other diseases. "Nothing that we see in the published literature is like this in terms of this exact cutting and precise dicing," he explained.

Conklin said the findings should alter the way providers and scientists think about the novel coronavirus and Covid-19. "We should think about this as not only a pulmonary disease, but also potentially a cardiac one."

Gregg Fonarow, interim chief of the UCLA Division of Cardiology and director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center, said the study is "really important and elegant work, helping to define the potential mechanisms by which SARS-CoV-2 is leading to the observed heart damage and clinical manifestations."

Sahil Parikh, an interventional cardiologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, called findings "provocative," but added, "[t]he challenge here is that this paper has not been peer-reviewed by people who are experts in cardiology, who have not had a chance to tear it apart." She said, "I am reluctant to make a lot out of a pre-publication manuscript, no matter how provocative the finding."

The researchers who worked on the study agreed that their work should be reviewed, and they've submitted the study to a leading scientific journal (Cooney, STAT News, 9/4).

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How the coronavirus causes 'carnage' in the heart - The Daily Briefing

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