Combination of Incyte’s Epacadostat plus Merck’s KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Demonstrates Activity in Clinical Trial of Patients with Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)
June 3, 2017 8:00 am ET
Updated Phase 1/2 data from ECHO-202 investigating the combination of IDO1 enzyme inhibition and anti-PD-1 therapy in patients with advanced NSCLC, regardless of PD-L1 status, presented at 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting
WILMINGTON, Del. and KENILWORTH, N.J. – Incyte Corporation (Nasdaq:INCY) and Merck (NYSD:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced updated data from the advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patient cohort of the ongoing Phase 1/2 ECHO-202 trial, evaluating epacadostat, Incyte’s selective IDO1 enzyme inhibitor, in combination with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy. Data showed an overall response rate (ORR) of 35 percent (n=14/40) among all patients with advanced squamous and non-squamous NSCLC treated with the combination of epacadostat and KEYTRUDA, irrespective of PD-L1 status. Findings will be highlighted in a poster discussion at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago on Saturday, June 3, from 3:00 pm to 4:15 p.m. CDT (Location: Hall D2) (Abstracts #9014).
“These updated data suggest that the combination of epacadostat and pembrolizumab has promise for patients with advanced NSCLC, irrespective of PD-L1 status,” said ECHO-202 study investigator Tara Gangadhar, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “The results show a clinical benefit for patients with advanced lung cancer and establish a strong basis for progressing this novel, investigational immunotherapy combination into pivotal studies for the first-line treatment of these patients.”
Key Findings from the ECHO-202 NSCLC Cohort
Data at ASCO (as of February 27, 2017) show an ORR of 35 percent (n=14/40) among all patients with advanced NSCLC treated with the combination of epacadostat and KEYTRUDA, with a complete response (CR) in two patients (5%) and partial response (PR) in 12 patients (30%). The data show a disease control rate (DCR) of 63 percent (n=25/40), with 71 percent (n=10/14) of responses ongoing at the time of the data cut-off (duration of response, range: 8.9 to 76.6+ weeks). Responses were observed in patients with high levels of PD-L1 expression [tumor proportion score (TPS) ≥50%], as well as in those patients with lower levels of PD-L1 expression (TPS of less than 50%). All responses were observed in the subgroup of patients with zero to two prior lines of therapy for advanced disease.
*Note: PD-L1 status was not available for 11 of the 36 patients.
Among patients treated with KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) in combination with epacadostat >100 mg twice daily, the ORR was 40 percent (n=14/35).
The most common treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) for epacadostat plus KEYTRUDA included fatigue (28%), arthralgia (17%), nausea (14%), decreased appetite (10%), pruritus (10 %), and rash (10%). Grade ≥3 TRAEs that occurred in >1 patient were limited to lipase increased (n=3), fatigue (n=2), and rash (n=2). TRAEs led to discontinuation of treatment in 5 percent of study patients. The safety profile was consistent with previously reported Phase 1 findings, as well as the Phase 1/2 safety results in other tumor cohorts and pooled safety data from this study. In general, the safety profile of the combination was also consistent with KEYTRUDA monotherapy.
About ECHO-202 (KEYNOTE-037)
The ECHO-202 study (NCT02178722) is evaluating the safety and efficacy of epacadostat, Incyte’s selective IDO1 inhibitor, in combination with KEYTRUDA. Patients previously treated with anti-PD-1 or anti-CTLA-4 therapies were excluded from this trial. Enrollment is complete for the Phase 1 dose escalation (epacadostat 25, 50, 100 mg BID + KEYTRUDA 2 mg/kg IV Q3W and epacadostat 300 mg BID + KEYTRUDA 200 mg IV Q3W) and Phase 1 dose expansion (epacadostat 50, 100, and 300 mg BID + KEYTRUDA 200 mg IV Q3W) portions of the trial. For more information about ECHO-202, visit https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02178722.
The ECHO clinical trial program was established to investigate the efficacy and safety of epacadostat as a core component of combination therapy in oncology. Ongoing Phase 1 and Phase 2 studies evaluating epacadostat in combination with PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors collectively plan to enroll over 900 patients in a broad range of solid tumor types as well as hematological malignancies. ECHO-301 (NCT02752074), a Phase 3 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study investigating KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) in combination with epacadostat or placebo for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma, is also underway. For more information about the ECHO clinical trial program, visit www.ECHOClinicalTrials.com.
About Epacadostat (INCB024360)Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) is a key immunosuppressive enzyme that modulates the anti-tumor immune response by promoting regulatory T cell generation and blocking effector T cell activation, thereby facilitating tumor growth by allowing cancer cells to avoid immune surveillance. Epacadostat is an investigational, highly potent and selective oral inhibitor of the IDO1 enzyme that regulates the tumor immune microenvironment, thereby restoring effective anti-tumor immune responses. In single-arm studies, the combination of epacadostat and immune checkpoint inhibitors has shown proof-of-concept in patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma. In these studies, epacadostat combined with the CTLA-4 inhibitor ipilimumab or the PD-1 inhibitor KEYTRUDA improved response rates compared with studies of the immune checkpoint inhibitors alone.
About KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Injection
KEYTRUDA is an anti-PD-1 therapy that works by increasing the ability of the body’s 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.
Studies of KEYTRUDA – from the largest immuno-oncology program in the industry with more than 500 trials – include a wide variety of cancers and treatment settings. The KEYTRUDA clinical program seeks to understand factors that predict a patient’s likelihood of benefitting from treatment with KEYTRUDA, including the exploration of several different biomarkers across a broad range of tumors.
KEYTRUDA is administered as an intravenous infusion over 30 minutes every three weeks for the approved indications. KEYTRUDA for injection is supplied in a 100 mg single-dose vial.
KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Indications and Dosing
KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma at a fixed dose of 200 mg every three weeks until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.
KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab), as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have high PD-L1 expression [tumor proportion score (TPS) ≥50%] as determined by an FDA-approved test, with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations.
KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is also 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.
KEYTRUDA, in combination with pemetrexed and carboplatin, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic nonsquamous NSCLC. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and progression-free survival. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials.
In metastatic NSCLC, KEYTRUDA is administered at a fixed dose of 200 mg every three weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease progression.
When administering KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy, KEYTRUDA should be administered prior to chemotherapy when given on the same day. See also the Prescribing Information for pemetrexed and carboplatin.
Head and Neck Cancer
KEYTRUDA 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. 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. In HNSCC, KEYTRUDA is administered at a fixed dose of 200 mg every three weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease progression.
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 three 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. In adults with cHL, KEYTRUDA is administered at a fixed dose of 200 mg every three weeks until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease progression. In pediatric patients with cHL, KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) is administered at a dose of 2 mg/kg (up to a maximum of 200 mg) every three weeks until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease progression.
KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma who are not eligible for cisplatin-containing chemotherapy. 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 the confirmatory trials.
KEYTRUDA is also indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy or within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.
In locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma, KEYTRUDA is administered at a fixed dose of 200 mg every three weeks until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease progression.
Microsatellite Instability-High (MSI-H) 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)
- solid tumors that have progressed following prior treatment and who have no satisfactory alternative treatment options, or
- colorectal cancer that has progressed following treatment with fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan.
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.
In adult patients with MSI-H cancer, KEYTRUDA is administered at a fixed dose of 200 mg every three weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease progression. In pediatric patients with MSI-H cancer, KEYTRUDA is administered at a dose of 2 mg/kg (up to a maximum of 200 mg) every three weeks until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity, or up to 24 months in patients without disease progression.
Selected Important Safety Information for KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab)
KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated pneumonitis, including fatal cases. Pneumonitis occurred in 94 (3.4%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 1 (0.8%), 2 (1.3%), 3 (0.9%), 4 (0.3%), and 5 (0.1%) pneumonitis, and occurred more frequently in patients with a history of prior thoracic radiation (6.9%) compared to those without (2.9%). 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.
KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated colitis. Colitis occurred in 48 (1.7%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.4%), 3 (1.1%), and 4 (<0.1%) colitis. 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.
KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated hepatitis. Hepatitis occurred in 19 (0.7%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.4%), and 4 (<0.1%) hepatitis. 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.
KEYTRUDA can cause hypophysitis. Hypophysitis occurred in 17 (0.6%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.2%), 3 (0.3%), and 4 (<0.1%) hypophysitis. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of hypophysitis (including hypopituitarism and adrenal insufficiency). Administer corticosteroids and hormone replacement as clinically indicated. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; withhold or discontinue for Grade 3 or 4 hypophysitis.
KEYTRUDA can cause thyroid disorders, including hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and thyroiditis. Hyperthyroidism occurred in 96 (3.4%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.8%) and 3 (0.1%) hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism occurred in 237 (8.5%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (6.2%) and 3 (0.1%) hypothyroidism. Thyroiditis occurred in 16 (0.6%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.3%) thyroiditis. Monitor patients for changes in thyroid function (at the start of treatment, periodically during treatment, and as indicated based on clinical evaluation) and for clinical signs and symptoms of thyroid disorders. Administer replacement hormones for hypothyroidism and manage hyperthyroidism with thionamides and beta-blockers as appropriate. Withhold or discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 hyperthyroidism.
KEYTRUDA can cause type 1 diabetes mellitus, including diabetic ketoacidosis, which have been reported in 6 (0.2%) of 2799 patients. Monitor patients for hyperglycemia or other signs and symptoms of diabetes. Administer insulin for type 1 diabetes, and withhold KEYTRUDA and administer antihyperglycemics in patients with severe hyperglycemia.
KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) can cause immune-mediated nephritis. Nephritis occurred in 9 (0.3%) of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.1%), 3 (0.1%), and 4 (<0.1%) nephritis. Monitor patients for changes in renal function. Administer corticosteroids for Grade 2 or greater nephritis. Withhold KEYTRUDA for Grade 2; permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA for Grade 3 or 4 nephritis.
KEYTRUDA can cause other clinically important immune-mediated adverse reactions. These immune-mediated reactions may occur in any organ system. 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%), exfoliative dermatitis, bullous pemphigoid, rash (1.4%), uveitis, myositis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, myasthenia gravis, vasculitis, pancreatitis, hemolytic anemia, and partial seizures arising in a patient with inflammatory foci in brain parenchyma. In addition, myelitis and myocarditis were reported in other clinical trials, including classical Hodgkin lymphoma, and postmarketing use.
Solid organ transplant rejection has been reported in postmarketing use of KEYTRUDA. Treatment with KEYTRUDA may increase the risk of rejection in solid organ transplant recipients. Consider the benefit of treatment with KEYTRUDA vs the risk of possible organ rejection in these patients.
KEYTRUDA can cause severe or life-threatening infusion-related reactions, including hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis, which have been reported in 6 (0.2%) of 2799 patients. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of infusion-related reactions, including rigors, chills, wheezing, pruritus, flushing, rash, hypotension, hypoxemia, and fever. For Grade 3 or 4 reactions, stop infusion and permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA.
Immune-mediated complications, including fatal events, occurred in patients who underwent allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) after being treated with KEYTRUDA. Of 23 patients with cHL who proceeded to allogeneic HSCT after treatment with KEYTRUDA on any trial, 6 patients (26%) developed graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD), one of which was fatal, and 2 patients (9%) developed severe hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD) after reduced-intensity conditioning, one of which was fatal. Cases of fatal hyperacute GVHD after allogeneic HSCT have also been reported in patients with lymphoma who received a PD-1 receptor–blocking antibody before transplantation. These complications may occur despite intervening therapy between PD-1 blockade and allogeneic HSCT. Follow patients closely for early evidence of transplant-related complications such as hyperacute GVHD, severe (Grade 3 to 4) acute GVHD, steroid-requiring febrile syndrome, hepatic VOD, and other immune-mediated adverse reactions, and intervene promptly.
Based on its mechanism of action, KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. If used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant during treatment, apprise the patient of the potential hazard to a fetus. Advise females of reproductive potential to use highly effective contraception during treatment and for 4 months after the last dose of KEYTRUDA.
KEYTRUDA monotherapy was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8% of 682 patients with metastatic NSCLC. The most common adverse event resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA was pneumonitis (1.8%). Adverse reactions leading to interruption of KEYTRUDA occurred in 23% of patients; the most common (≥1%) were diarrhea (1%), fatigue (1.3%), pneumonia (1%), liver enzyme elevation (1.2%), decreased appetite (1.3%), and pneumonitis (1%). The most common adverse reactions (occurring in at least 20% of patients and at a higher incidence than with docetaxel) were decreased appetite (25% vs 23%), dyspnea (23% vs 20%), and nausea (20% vs 18%).
When KEYTRUDA was administered in combination with carboplatin and pemetrexed (carbo/pem), KEYTRUDA was discontinued in 10% of 59 patients. The most common adverse reaction resulting in discontinuation of KEYTRUDA (≥2%) was acute kidney injury (3.4%). Adverse reactions leading to interruption of KEYTRUDA occurred in 39% of patients; the most common (≥2%) were fatigue (8%), neutrophil count decreased (8%), anemia (5%), dyspnea (3.4%), and pneumonitis (3.4%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) with KEYTRUDA compared to carbo/pem alone were fatigue (71% vs 50%), nausea (68% vs 56%), constipation (51% vs 37%), rash (42% vs 21%), vomiting (39% vs 27%), dyspnea (39% vs 21%), diarrhea (37% vs 23%), decreased appetite (31% vs 23%), headache (31% vs 16%), cough (24% vs 18%), dizziness (24% vs 16%), insomnia (24% vs 15%), pruritus (24% vs 4.8%), peripheral edema (22% vs 18%), dysgeusia (20% vs 11%), alopecia (20% vs 3.2%), upper respiratory tract infection (20% vs 3.2%), and arthralgia (15% vs 24%). This study was not designed to demonstrate a statistically significant difference in adverse reaction rates for KEYTRUDA as compared to carbo/pem alone for any specified adverse reaction.
It is not known whether KEYTRUDA is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, instruct women to discontinue nursing during treatment with KEYTRUDA and for 4 months after the final dose.
Incyte Corporation is a Wilmington, Delaware-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of proprietary therapeutics. For additional information on Incyte, please visit the Company’s website at www.incyte.com.
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Merck Focus on Cancer
Merck’s goal is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. At Merck, helping people fight cancer is our passion and supporting accessibility to our cancer medicines is our commitment. Our focus is on pursuing research in immuno-oncology and we are accelerating every step in the journey – from lab to clinic – to potentially bring new hope to people with cancer.
As part of our focus on cancer, Merck is committed to exploring the potential of immuno-oncology with one of the fastest-growing development programs in the industry. We are currently executing an expansive research program that includes more than 500 clinical trials evaluating our anti-PD-1 therapy across more than 30 tumor types. We also continue to strengthen our immuno-oncology portfolio through strategic acquisitions and are prioritizing the development of several promising immunotherapeutic candidates with the potential to improve the treatment of advanced cancers.
For more information about our oncology clinical trials, visit www.merck.com/clinicaltrials.
For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world – including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Forward-Looking Statement of Incyte Corporation
Except for the historical information set forth herein, the matters set forth in this press release, including statements regarding the presentation of updated ECHO-202 data at ASCO, whether epacadostat and pembrolizumab may be an effective and safe treatment for NSCLC patients, and the planned pivotal trials of epacadostat in combination with pembrolizumab, contain predictions, estimates and other forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on the Company’s current expectations and subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially, including unanticipated developments and the risks related to the efficacy or safety of the Company’s development pipeline, the results of further research and development, the high degree of risk and uncertainty associated with drug development, clinical trials and regulatory approval processes, other market or economic factors and competitive and technological advances; and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company’s reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2017. Incyte disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
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Please see Prescribing Information for KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) at http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/k/keytruda/keytruda_pi.pdf and Patient Information/Medication Guide for KEYTRUDA at http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/k/keytruda/keytruda_mg.pdf
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