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Merck: A Speed Bump For Keytruda?

Shares of Merck (MRK) are falling today after the drug maker announced late Monday that it was hitting the brakes on two late-stage studies involving the use of its immuno-cancer drug Keytruda as a treatment for multiple myeloma. Merck is investigating increased reports of deaths in the groups using the drug.

Evercore ISI analystUmer Raffat has the details.

Merck just issued an update on the ongoing Ph 3 studies of pembro in multiple myeloma (a type of blood cancer).
Specifically, press release mentions that data monitoring committee has recommended pausing further recruitment in the ongoing Ph 3 studies to
The companies have little color to add at this stage.
Previously, in a 48-patient trial in rel/ref multiple myeloma, pembro + rev/dex had great efficacy (56% ORR and 15+ mo PFS) … and tox profile was

Credit Suisse analyst Vamil Divan and his team are not particularly alarmed by the news.

There are now ~500 clinical trials completed or ongoing for Keytruda, many in previously untested combinations. Without additional information, we don't believe there is anything of major concern here at this time. To date, Keytruda has had a clean safety profile, and with the number of studies ongoing in very sick patient populations, it is reasonable to assume that a certain combination or indication could yield a negative safety result, if that is in fact the cause of the imbalance. We do not view this pause as having any material impact on MRK's near-term prospects in immuno-oncology.

At $63.61, Merck's share price, which has gained 15% over the past year, has fallen 1.2% in pre-market action.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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