Merck & Co/MSD’s PD-1 inhibitor Keytruda received FDA approval earlier in 2019 for use alongside Pfizer’s Inlyta (axitinib) in previously untreated patients with renal cell carcinoma. This additional use has now also been approved in the EU, on the back of the phase 3 KEYNOTE-426 trial, which showed that the combination with Inlyta reduced the risk of death by 47% compared to Pfizer’s older targeted drug Sutent (sunitinib), and adds to the long list of approvals received for many different types of cancer.
MSD’s UK MD, Louise Houson, said: the EC’s decision “means that we are one step closer for these patients in the UK to have access to pembrolizumab in combination with axitinib. People with advanced renal cell carcinoma have typically faced poor outcomes in the past so it is of paramount importance that we strive to secure the best treatment options. MSD is working collaboratively with the government, NHS and NICE to bring access to patients as rapidly as possible.”
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