Merck and Pfizer to present Avelumab data in seven different cancers at ASCO annual meeting

PfizerMerck and Pfizer today announced that avelumab* presentations across seven different tumor types, including two oral presentations, will be featured at the 52nd American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting being held June 3-7, 2016, in Chicago, IL. The avelumab presentations, from the rapidly accelerating JAVELIN clinical development program, include new study results from a number of difficult-to-treat cancers, including data from the pivotal Phase II trial of avelumab being investigated as second-line treatment for metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). Additional data include highlights from mesothelioma, adrenocortical carcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and urothelial bladder, gastric and ovarian cancers, as well as updated safety data.

"One of our key highlights for ASCO will be the new avelumab data in second-line metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma," said Luciano Rossetti, M.D., Executive Vice President, Global Head of Research & Development at the biopharma business of Merck. "As there are currently no approved treatments for this rare and aggressive cancer, these clinically meaningful data represent a breakthrough for this difficult-to-treat tumor type."

Since ASCO 2015, the collaboration between Merck and Pfizer has made significant progress. The JAVELIN development program for avelumab now includes 30 ongoing clinical programs and nine pivotal studies. As of May 2016, JAVELIN now includes approximately 2,200 patients, being treated across more than 15 tumor types.

"These data add to the growing body of evidence for avelumab, indicating efficacy and a favorable safety profile in multiple cancers, which supports ongoing development," said Chris Boshoff, M.D., PhD., Vice President and Head of Early Development, Translational and Immuno-Oncology at Pfizer Oncology. "Through our comprehensive JAVELIN clinical development program for avelumab, we are making meaningful advances for a broad range of patients with cancer."

Avelumab is an investigational, fully human antibody specific for a protein found on tumor cells called PD-L1, or programmed death ligand. As a checkpoint inhibitor, avelumab is thought to have a dual mechanism of action which is believed to enable the immune system to find and attack cancer cells. By binding to PD-L1, avelumab is thought to prevent tumor cells from using PD-L1 for protection against white blood cells such as T-cells, exposing them to anti-tumor responses. Avelumab is also thought to help white blood cells such as natural killer (NK) cells find and attack tumors in a process known as ADCC, or antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity.

* Avelumab is the proposed nonproprietary name for the anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody (MSB0010718C). Avelumab is under clinical investigation and has not been proven to be safe and effective. There is no guarantee any product will be approved in the sought-after indication by any health authority worldwide.

About Avelumab
Avelumab (also known as MSB0010718C) is an investigational, fully human anti-PD-L1 IgG1 monoclonal antibody. By inhibiting PD-L1 interactions, avelumab is thought to enable the activation of T-cells and the adaptive immune system. By retaining a native Fc-region, avelumab is thought to potentially engage the innate immune system and induce antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). In November 2014, Merck and Pfizer announced a strategic alliance to co-develop and co-commercialize avelumab.

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

Pfizer Inc.: Working together for a healthier world®
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of healthcare products. Our global portfolio includes medicines and vaccines, as well as many of the world's best-known consumer healthcare products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for all who rely on us.

About Merck
Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life - from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2015, Merck generated sales of € 12.85 billion in 66 countries.

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

Most Popular Now

Delivering insulin in a pill

Given the choice of taking a pill or injecting oneself with a needle, most of us would opt to regulate a chronic health condition by swallowing a pill. But for millions o...

Can aspirin treat Alzheimer's?

A regimen of low-dose aspirin potentially may reduce plaques in the brain, which will reduce Alzheimer's disease pathology and protect memory, according to neurological r...

FDA approves first drug comprised of an active ing…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms o...

Researchers develop a new method for turning skin …

Our bodies consist of many different kinds of cells, each with their own role. The Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka had made earlier the discovery, earning the Nobel Pr...

Some existing anti-cancer drugs may act in part by…

Bolstering the notion that RNA should be considered an important drug-discovery target, scientists at Scripps Research have found that several existing, FDA-approved anti...

Poliovirus therapy for recurrent glioblastoma has …

A genetically modified poliovirus therapy developed at Duke Cancer Institute shows significantly improved long-term survival for patients with recurrent glioblastoma, wit...

Human clinical trial reveals verapamil as an effec…

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Diabetes Center have discovered a safe and effective novel therapy to reduce insulin requirements and...

Novartis Clear about Psoriasis survey data highlig…

Novartis announced today the publication of global Clear about Psoriasis survey data in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology[1]. The publica...

New small molecules pave the way for treating auto…

The innate immune system is the first line of defense, with cells that quickly identify "foreign" motifs from viruses and bacteria and mount up a counterattack to elimina...

How targeting metabolism can defeat cancer stem ce…

Researchers are the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer are unraveling a crucial thread that explains why cancer so often becomes resistant to treatment. In a breakthroug...

Amgen and MBC Biolabs announce winners of the Amge…

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) and MBC BioLabs (formerly QB3@953) announced that Delve Therapeutics and Mitokinin have won the Amgen Golden Ticket at MBC BioLabs. Each company recei...

FDA warns of imposters sending consumers fake warn…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers about criminals forging FDA warning letters to target individuals who tried to purchase medicines online or ove...