TOKYO, Sep 18, 2019 – (JCN Newswire) – Eisai and Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A. (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the combination of LENVIMA, the orally available kinase inhibitor discovered by Eisai, plus KEYTRUDA, Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A.’s anti-PD-1 therapy, for the treatment of patients with advanced endometrial carcinoma that is not microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR), who have disease progression following prior systemic therapy and are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation.
This marks the first U.S. approval for the combination of LENVIMA plus KEYTRUDA and the first time an anti-PD-1 therapy is approved in combination with a kinase inhibitor for advanced endometrial carcinoma in the U.S. Following submission on June 17, this is an accelerated approval reviewed under the FDA’s Real-Time Oncology Review (RTOR) pilot program, which aims to improve the efficiency of the review process for applications to ensure that treatments are available to patients as early as possible.
RTOR allows the FDA to review much of the data earlier, before the applicant formally submits the complete application. This accelerated approval is 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 trial. According to the FDA, this review was conducted under Project Orbis, an initiative of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence. Project Orbis provides a framework for concurrent submission and review of oncology drugs among its international partners. Under this project, the FDA, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and Health Canada collaboratively reviewed applications for two oncology drugs, allowing for simultaneous decisions in all three countries.
The approval was based on data from Study 111/KEYNOTE-146, a Phase 2, multi-cohort, multi-center, open-label, single-arm trial that enrolled 108 patients with metastatic endometrial carcinoma that had progressed following at least one prior systemic therapy in any setting. In the 94 patients with tumors that were not MSI-H or dMMR, the LENVIMA plus KEYTRUDA combination demonstrated an ORR of 38.3% (95% CI, 29-49), with a complete response rate of 10.6% (n=10) and a partial response rate of 27.7% (n=26). In the patients who had a response as determined by independent review (n=36), at the time of data cutoff, the median DOR was not reached (range, 1.2+ to 33.1+months), and 69% of these patients experienced responses lasting six months or longer. The most common adverse reactions (>/=20%) with the LENVIMA plus KEYTRUDA combination were fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, hypertension, diarrhea, decreased appetite, hypothyroidism, nausea, stomatitis, vomiting, decreased weight, abdominal pain, headache, constipation, urinary tract infection, dysphonia, hemorrhagic events, hypomagnesemia, palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia, dyspnea, cough and rash.
“When diagnosed early, endometrial carcinoma can have a good prognosis; however, for women whose cancer has progressed following prior systemic therapy, there are few FDA-approved treatment options,” said Dr. Vicky Makker, medical oncologist, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Based on objective response rate and the duration of response, this approval of the LENVIMA plus KEYTRUDA combination will help address a significant unmet medical need for patients with advanced endometrial carcinoma that is not MSI-H or dMMR, who have disease progression following prior systemic therapy and are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation.”
“Today’s approval of the LENVIMA plus KEYTRUDA combination for advanced endometrial carcinoma that has progressed following prior systemic therapy brings the first approved combination treatment to women with this type of cancer whose tumors are not MSI-H or dMMR and who are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation, and this demonstrates the potential of our collaboration with Eisai,” said Dr. Jonathan Cheng, Vice President, Oncology Clinical Research, Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A. Research Laboratories. “Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A. is committed to developing this combination through the LEAP (LEnvatinib And Pembrolizumab) clinical program, which is under active investigation.”
“At least 75% of endometrial cancer cases are not microsatellite instability-high or mismatch repair deficient, and these women have been in need of new treatment options,” said Dr. Takashi Owa, Vice President, Chief Medicine Creation and Chief Discovery Officer, Oncology Business Group at Eisai. “We are very pleased that the LENVIMA plus KEYTRUDA combination for patients with advanced endometrial carcinoma that is not MSI-H or dMMR, who have disease progression following prior systemic therapy and are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation has been selected for FDA’s RTOR pilot program, launched last year, and has been approved approximately three months after the submission. We look forward to providing this combination therapy to women with certain types of advanced endometrial carcinoma.”
Eisai Co., Ltd. is a leading global research and development-based pharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan. We define our corporate mission as “giving first thought to patients and their families and to increasing the benefits health care provides,” which we call our human health care (hhc) philosophy. With approximately 10,000 employees working across our global network of R&D facilities, manufacturing sites and marketing subsidiaries, we strive to realize our hhc philosophy by delivering innovative products in various therapeutic areas with high unmet medical needs, including Neurology and Oncology.
Furthermore, we invest and participate in several partnership-based initiatives to improve access to medicines in developing and emerging countries.
For more information about Eisai Co., Ltd., please visit www.eisai.com
Eisai Co., Ltd. Public Relations +81-(0)3-3817-5120 Merck & Co., Inc. Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A. Media Relations Pamela Eisele: (267) 305-3558 Kristen Drake: (908) 334-4688
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