LianBio Announces Pricing of Initial Public Offering

On October 31, 2021 LianBio, a biotechnology company dedicated to bringing innovative medicines to patients in China and other major Asian markets, reported the pricing of its initial public offering of 20,312,500 American depositary shares ("ADSs") at a public offering price of $16.00 per ADS, for gross proceeds of approximately $325.0 million, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses (Press release, LianBio, OCT 31, 2021, View Source [SID1234594003]). Each ADS represents one ordinary share of LianBio, and all of the ADSs are being offered by LianBio. In addition, LianBio has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 3,046,875 additional ADSs at the initial public offering price, less underwriting discounts and commissions.

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The ADSs are scheduled to begin trading on the Nasdaq Global Market on November 1, 2021 under the ticker symbol "LIAN," and the offering is expected to close on November 3, 2021, subject to customary closing conditions.

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, Jefferies LLC and BofA Securities, Inc. are acting as joint bookrunning managers for the offering. Raymond James is acting as lead manager for the offering.

A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and became effective on October 29, 2021. This offering is being made only by means of a prospectus. Copies of the final prospectus, when available, may be obtained from: Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, Attn: Prospectus Department, 200 West Street, New York, New York 10282, Jefferies LLC, Attn: Equity Syndicate Prospectus Department, 520 Madison Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, New York 10022, by telephone at (877) 821-7388 or by email at [email protected], and BofA Securities, Inc., Attn: Prospectus Department, 200 North College Street, 3rd Floor, Charlotte, North Carolina, 28255-0001, or by email at [email protected]

This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such an offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.

Antengene Receives FDA Approval of IND for Phase 1 Trial of ATG-101 (PD-L1/4-1BB bispecific antibody) in Solid Tumors and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

On October 31, 2021 Antengene Corporation Limited ("Antengene", SEHK: 6996.HK), a leading innovative global biopharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering, developing and commercializing first-in-class and/or best-in-class therapeutics in hematology and oncology, reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Investigational New Drug (IND) application for ATG-101, a bi-specific monoclonal antibody in development as a potential treatment for metastatic/advanced solid tumors and B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (B-NHL) (Press release, Antengene, OCT 31, 2021, View Source [SID1234593972]). The IND approval enables Antengene to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial to evaluate the safety and tolerability of ATG-101 in patients with advanced solid tumors and NHL.

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ATG-101 is the first in-house developed innovative molecule with global rights entering clinical stage. This is the second regulatory clearance of ATG-101, following Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) approval and site initiation for a Phase 1, dose-escalating clinical trial in Australia. In addition, this also marks an important milestone for Antengene as the first IND approval in the U.S.

ATG-101 is a novel bispecific antibody that was designed to block the binding of immunosuppressive PD-L1/PD-1 and conditionally induce 4-1BB stimulation, thus activating anti-tumor immune effectors, with the potential for delivery of enhanced anti-tumor activity and an improved safety profile. ATG-101 demonstrated significant anti-tumor activity in animal models of tumors that progressed on anti-PD-1/L1 treatment, and showed a favorable safety profile in GLP toxicology studies.

"ATG-101 has been designed to provide a newer and more efficacious treatment option for patients with solid tumors and NHL who are resistant or refractory to anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapies, a growing and increasingly important medical need." said Dr. Jay Mei, Chairman and CEO of Antengene. "Approval of our U.S. IND application for ATG-101 is an important milestone for Antengene. A Phase I dose-escalating clinical trial for ATG-101 is also underway in Australia and the Company plans to submit an IND application in China by year-end. These studies highlight global execution capabilities and further Antengene’s vision of Treating Patients Beyond Borders worldwide."

About ATG-101

ATG-101 is a novel PD-L1/4-1BB bi-specific antibody being developed for the treatment of metastatic/advanced solid tumors and B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (B-NHL). ATG-101 was designed to activate anti-tumor immune effectors, by simultaneously blocking the binding of PD-L1/PD-1 and inducing 4-1BB stimulation. In PD-L1 over-expressing cancer cells, ATG-101 has shown potent PD-L1 crosslinking-dependent 4-1BB agonist activity, with the potential for delivery of enhanced therapeutic efficacy, whilst mitigating risk of hepatoxicity. ATG-101 is being evaluated in Phase I studies in both Australia and the United States for the treatment of patients with metastatic/advanced solid tumors and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Vernalis Research – a Fully Owned Subsidiary of HitGen Inc – and Hannibal Innovation Announce the Creation of Dania Therapeutics ApS

On October 31, 2021 Vernalis Research ("Vernalis"), a fully owned subsidiary of HitGen Inc., and Hannibal Innovation ApS ("Hannibal") reported the creation of Dania Therapeutics ApS ("Dania") to discover small molecules inhibitors against new undisclosed oncology targets (Press release, Vernalis, OCT 31, 2021, View Source;a-Fully-Owned-Subsidiary-of-HitGen-Inc—and-Hannibal-Innovation-Announce-the-Creation-of-Dania-Therapeutics-ApS [SID1234593971]).

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Dania’s new discovery program is based on the work from Professor Kristian Helin at University of Copenhagen. Prof. Helin and Dr. Karl Agger, from his laboratory, are the scientific founders of Dania.

Under the terms of the agreement, Vernalis will use its expertise in drug discovery to undertake all activities up to lead optimization and invest in Dania. Vernalis has the option to fund further discovery activities until the nomination of a preclinical candidate. The team at Hannibal will run operations for Dania throughout the initial stages of the collaboration.

Mike Wood – Managing Director at Vernalis – will join the Board of Dania. Hamed Brodersen and Karin Absalonsen from Hannibal will act as CEO and Chair of the Board of directors, respectively. Kim Andersen joins as COO of Dania.

"We are extremely pleased to work with Kristian Helin and Hannibal on such exciting targets. This innovative business model where Vernalis trades the usual cash and milestones payments for equity demonstrates Vernalis’ confidence in its expertise and its ability to collaborate with talented scientists and successful entrepreneurs," said Mike Wood – Managing Director at Vernalis, "and we have been impressed by the quality of the work from Kristian and the track record from the team at Hannibal in creating and nurturing successful biotech companies."

"We are very excited about the creation of Dania, and the collaboration with Hannibal and Vernalis in starting the company," said Kristian Helin. "We are looking forward to our continued collaboration and the development of new inhibitors to the oncology targets, identified in my lab at University of Copenhagen."

"Hannibal wants to be the go-to partner for scientists and research institutions that stand out in the industry because of the depth and quality of their scientific work. It is an honor for us to work with Kristian Helin in bringing new breakthroughs in science to underserved patients. We are also thrilled to work with Vernalis, which has an excellent track record in structure-based drug discovery, a strong management team and visionary owners. Hannibal’s business model is to establish strong partnerships with innovative approaches to business development. We look forward to shaping the industry together with Kristian and Vernalis," said Hamed Brodersen, CEO of Hannibal.

"I am delighted to see this new joint venture between Vernalis and Hannibal. The establishment of Dania demonstrates Vernalis’ strength in discovery research and innovative business thinking. Since the completion of acquisition at the end of 2020, Vernalis has already contributed to HitGen group’s topline. The research teams from Vernalis and HitGen Chengdu have also worked closely to progress the synergistic opportunities in our core technology platforms – DNA-encoded Libraries (DEL) and Fragment-Based Drug Discovery/Structure-Based Drug Design (FBDD/SBDD). I wish the new venture every success in its discovery research endeavor," said Dr. Jin Li, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of HitGen.

New Research for KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) at Society for Melanoma Research (SMR) 2021 Congress Reinforces Merck’s Commitment to Patients With Melanoma Across Stages of Disease

On October 31, 2021 Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, reported new data from studies evaluating KEYTRUDA, Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, at the Society for Melanoma Research (SMR) 2021 Congress (Press release, Merck & Co, OCT 31, 2021, View Source [SID1234593966]). Presentations demonstrate the company’s scientific expertise and continuing commitment to delivering meaningful advances for patients with melanoma. Key data include exploratory 7-year follow-up from KEYNOTE-006, the pivotal trial that supported the indication for KEYTRUDA in advanced melanoma, and updated findings from the KEYNOTE-716 trial that is evaluating KEYTRUDA as an adjuvant treatment for patients with resected stage IIB or IIC melanoma. These data were both selected for inclusion in plenary sessions at the SMR 2021 Congress.

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"The seven-year data for KEYTRUDA in advanced melanoma is a significant milestone for the field of melanoma research and for patients," said Dr. Roy Baynes, senior vice president and head of global clinical development, chief medical officer, Merck Research Laboratories. "Just ten years ago, the median survival for patients with metastatic melanoma was less than a year and only 10% of patients could expect to survive more than five years. We are incredibly honored to present these new long-term survival data in advanced disease at this year’s SMR 2021 Congress, as well as updated findings in stage IIB and stage IIC melanoma."

Data from KEYOTE-587: Exploratory 7-Year Follow-up of KEYNOTE-006 Patients (Plenary Session 11)

KEYNOTE-006 (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01866319) was an open-label, randomized Phase 3 study comparing the efficacy and safety of KEYTRUDA versus ipilimumab in participants with advanced melanoma. After KEYNOTE-006 concluded, participants were eligible to transition to KEYNOTE-587 for extended follow-up. 210 former participants of KEYNOTE-006 (158 patients treated with KEYTRUDA and 52 patients treated with ipilimumab) were assessed for 7-year follow-up. Findings from this long-term follow-up showed that median OS was 32.7 months for KEYTRUDA and 15.9 months for ipilimumab (HR=0.70; [95% CI, 0.58-0.83]). The 7-year OS rates were 37.8% for KEYTRUDA and 25.3% for ipilimumab. Findings from this exploratory analysis showed that KEYTRUDA was associated with improved clinical outcomes regardless of BRAF status, prior BRAFi therapy, and poor prognostic characteristics such as high LDH level, larger tumor size, or presence of brain metastases. These results represent the longest follow-up from a Phase 3 trial of anti-PD-1/L1 therapy for advanced melanoma available to date. No formal statistical testing was planned. Selected safety information from KEYNOTE-006 can be found below.

Data from KEYNOTE-716 (Plenary Session 11)

KEYNOTE-716 (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03553836) is a multicenter, randomized, double-blind Phase 3 trial evaluating adjuvant treatment with KEYTRUDA compared to placebo in adult and pediatric (12 years or older) patients with resected stage IIB or IIC melanoma. The trial’s primary endpoint is recurrence-free survival (RFS). At the protocol-specified second interim analysis (IA2), treatment with KEYTRUDA continued to show a clinically meaningful improvement in RFS compared to placebo as adjuvant therapy for these patients, with a reduction in the risk of disease recurrence or death of 39% (HR=0.61 [95% CI, 0.45-0.82]). As previously announced, KEYNOTE-716 met the primary endpoint of RFS at the first interim analysis (HR=0.65 [95% CI, 0.46-0.92]; p=0.00658), and therefore, statistical testing was not performed at IA2. No new safety signals were observed.

At IA2, 14.8% (n=72/487) of patients who received KEYTRUDA had recurrence or died compared to 23.5% (n=115/489) of patients on placebo. Median RFS continued to not be reached for either group at the time of this analysis. Twice as many patients on placebo (12.3% [n=60/489]) experienced distant recurrence compared to patients on KEYTRUDA (6.4% [n=31/487]).

The safety profile of KEYTRUDA at IA2 was consistent with previous reports. Treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) occurred in 82.8% (n=400/483) of patients who received KEYTRUDA versus 63.4% (n=308/486) of patients who received placebo, while Grades 3-4 TRAEs were observed in 17.0% (n=82/483) versus 4.3% (n=21/486) of patients, respectively. Grades 3-4 immune-mediated adverse events and infusion reactions occurred in 10.1% (n=49/483) of patients and 1.2% (n=6/486) of patients in the KEYTRUDA and placebo arms, respectively.

About Merck in Melanoma

Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells. The rates of melanoma have been rising over the past few decades, with nearly 325,000 new cases diagnosed worldwide in 2020.

Merck’s clinical research program is uniquely positioned to address evolving patient populations in melanoma, with research directed at earlier stages of disease and novel combinations in PD-1-naïve and PD-1-experienced populations. Key studies include KEYNOTE-716, LEAP-003, KEYMAKER-U02 and LEAP-004.

KEYTRUDA has been established as an important treatment option for the adjuvant treatment of patients with resected stage III melanoma and is approved in over 90 countries based on the results from EORTC1325/KEYNOTE-054. KEYTRUDA is also approved worldwide for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

About KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) Injection, 100 mg

KEYTRUDA is an anti-programmed death receptor-1 (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.

Merck has the industry’s largest immuno-oncology clinical research program. There are currently more than 1,600 trials studying KEYTRUDA across a wide variety of cancers and treatment settings. The KEYTRUDA clinical program seeks to understand the role of KEYTRUDA across cancers and the factors that may predict a patient’s likelihood of benefitting from treatment with KEYTRUDA, including exploring several different biomarkers.

Selected KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) Indications in the U.S.

Melanoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the adjuvant treatment of patients with melanoma with involvement of lymph node(s) following complete resection.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations.

KEYTRUDA, in combination with carboplatin and either paclitaxel or paclitaxel protein-bound, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic squamous NSCLC.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with NSCLC expressing PD-L1 [tumor proportion score (TPS) ≥1%] as determined by an FDA-approved test, with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations, and is:

stage III where patients are not candidates for surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation, or
metastatic.
KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is 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.

Head and Neck Squamous Cell Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with platinum and fluorouracil (FU), is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or with unresectable, recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic or with unresectable, recurrent HNSCC whose tumors express PD-L1 [combined positive score (CPS) ≥1] as determined by an FDA-approved test.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic HNSCC with disease progression on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy.

Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL).

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of pediatric patients with refractory cHL, or cHL that has relapsed after 2 or more lines of therapy.

Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with refractory primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL), or who have relapsed after 2 or more prior lines of therapy. KEYTRUDA is not recommended for treatment of patients with PMBCL who require urgent cytoreductive therapy.

Urothelial Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC):

who are not eligible for any platinum-containing chemotherapy, or
who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy or within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.
Non-muscle invasive Bladder Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin-unresponsive, high-risk, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) with carcinoma in situ with or without papillary tumors who are ineligible for or have elected not to undergo cystectomy.

Microsatellite Instability-High or Mismatch Repair Deficient 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.

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.

Microsatellite Instability-High or Mismatch Repair Deficient Colorectal Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic MSI-H or dMMR colorectal cancer (CRC).

Gastric Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with trastuzumab, fluoropyrimidine- and platinum-containing chemotherapy, is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic HER2-positive gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma.

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.

Esophageal Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic esophageal or GEJ (tumors with epicenter 1 to 5 centimeters above the GEJ) carcinoma that is not amenable to surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation either:

in combination with platinum- and fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy, or
as a single agent after one or more prior lines of systemic therapy for patients with tumors of squamous cell histology that express PD-L1 (CPS ≥10) as determined by an FDA-approved test.
Cervical Cancer

KEYTRUDA, in combination with chemotherapy, with or without bevacizumab, is indicated for the treatment of patients with persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cervical cancer whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS ≥1) as determined by an FDA-approved test.

KEYTRUDA, as a single agent, is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer with disease progression on or after chemotherapy whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS ≥1) as determined by an FDA-approved test.

Hepatocellular Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who have been previously treated with sorafenib. 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.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). 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.

Renal Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA, in combination with axitinib, is indicated for the first-line treatment of adult patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma.

Tumor Mutational Burden-High Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with unresectable or metastatic tumor mutational burden-high (TMB-H) [≥10 mutations/megabase] solid tumors, as determined by an FDA-approved test, that have progressed following prior treatment and who have no satisfactory alternative treatment options. 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 TMB-H central nervous system cancers have not been established.

Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) or locally advanced cSCC that is not curable by surgery or radiation.

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

KEYTRUDA is indicated for the treatment of patients with high-risk early-stage triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) in combination with chemotherapy as neoadjuvant treatment, and then continued as a single agent as adjuvant treatment after surgery.

KEYTRUDA, in combination with chemotherapy, is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally recurrent unresectable or metastatic TNBC whose tumors express PD-L1 (CPS ≥10) as determined by an FDA-approved test.

Selected Important Safety Information for KEYTRUDA

Severe and Fatal Immune-Mediated Adverse Reactions

KEYTRUDA is a monoclonal antibody that belongs to a class of drugs that bind to either the PD-1 or the PD-L1, blocking the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway, thereby removing inhibition of the immune response, potentially breaking peripheral tolerance and inducing immune-mediated adverse reactions. Immune-mediated adverse reactions, which may be severe or fatal, can occur in any organ system or tissue, can affect more than one body system simultaneously, and can occur at any time after starting treatment or after discontinuation of treatment. Important immune-mediated adverse reactions listed here may not include all possible severe and fatal immune-mediated adverse reactions.

Monitor patients closely for symptoms and signs that may be clinical manifestations of underlying immune-mediated adverse reactions. Early identification and management are essential to ensure safe use of anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatments. Evaluate liver enzymes, creatinine, and thyroid function at baseline and periodically during treatment. For patients with TNBC treated with KEYTRUDA in the neoadjuvant setting, monitor blood cortisol at baseline, prior to surgery, and as clinically indicated. In cases of suspected immune-mediated adverse reactions, initiate appropriate workup to exclude alternative etiologies, including infection. Institute medical management promptly, including specialty consultation as appropriate.

Withhold or permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA depending on severity of the immune-mediated adverse reaction. In general, if KEYTRUDA requires interruption or discontinuation, administer systemic corticosteroid therapy (1 to 2 mg/kg/day prednisone or equivalent) until improvement to Grade 1 or less. Upon improvement to Grade 1 or less, initiate corticosteroid taper and continue to taper over at least 1 month. Consider administration of other systemic immunosuppressants in patients whose adverse reactions are not controlled with corticosteroid therapy.

Immune-Mediated Pneumonitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated pneumonitis. The incidence is higher in patients who have received prior thoracic radiation. Immune-mediated pneumonitis occurred in 3.4% (94/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including fatal (0.1%), Grade 4 (0.3%), Grade 3 (0.9%), and Grade 2 (1.3%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 67% (63/94) of patients. Pneumonitis led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 1.3% (36) and withholding in 0.9% (26) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement; of these, 23% had recurrence. Pneumonitis resolved in 59% of the 94 patients.

Pneumonitis occurred in 8% (31/389) of adult patients with cHL receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent, including Grades 3-4 in 2.3% of patients. Patients received high-dose corticosteroids for a median duration of 10 days (range: 2 days to 53 months). Pneumonitis rates were similar in patients with and without prior thoracic radiation. Pneumonitis led to discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 5.4% (21) of patients. Of the patients who developed pneumonitis, 42% interrupted KEYTRUDA, 68% discontinued KEYTRUDA, and 77% had resolution.

Immune-Mediated Colitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated colitis, which may present with diarrhea. Cytomegalovirus infection/reactivation has been reported in patients with corticosteroid-refractory immune-mediated colitis. In cases of corticosteroid-refractory colitis, consider repeating infectious workup to exclude alternative etiologies. Immune-mediated colitis occurred in 1.7% (48/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 4 (<0.1%), Grade 3 (1.1%), and Grade 2 (0.4%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 69% (33/48); additional immunosuppressant therapy was required in 4.2% of patients. Colitis led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 0.5% (15) and withholding in 0.5% (13) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement; of these, 23% had recurrence. Colitis resolved in 85% of the 48 patients.

Hepatotoxicity and Immune-Mediated Hepatitis

KEYTRUDA as a Single Agent

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated hepatitis. Immune-mediated hepatitis occurred in 0.7% (19/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 4 (<0.1%), Grade 3 (0.4%), and Grade 2 (0.1%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 68% (13/19) of patients; additional immunosuppressant therapy was required in 11% of patients. Hepatitis led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 0.2% (6) and withholding in 0.3% (9) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement; of these, none had recurrence. Hepatitis resolved in 79% of the 19 patients.

KEYTRUDA with Axitinib

KEYTRUDA in combination with axitinib can cause hepatic toxicity. Monitor liver enzymes before initiation of and periodically throughout treatment. Consider monitoring more frequently as compared to when the drugs are administered as single agents. For elevated liver enzymes, interrupt KEYTRUDA and axitinib, and consider administering corticosteroids as needed. With the combination of KEYTRUDA and axitinib, Grades 3 and 4 increased alanine aminotransferase (20%) and increased aspartate aminotransferase (13%) were seen at a higher frequency compared to KEYTRUDA alone. Fifty-nine percent of the patients with increased ALT received systemic corticosteroids. In patients with ALT ≥3 times upper limit of normal (ULN) (Grades 2-4, n=116), ALT resolved to Grades 0-1 in 94%. Among the 92 patients who were rechallenged with either KEYTRUDA (n=3) or axitinib (n=34) administered as a single agent or with both (n=55), recurrence of ALT ≥3 times ULN was observed in 1 patient receiving KEYTRUDA, 16 patients receiving axitinib, and 24 patients receiving both. All patients with a recurrence of ALT ≥3 ULN subsequently recovered from the event.

Immune-Mediated Endocrinopathies

Adrenal Insufficiency

KEYTRUDA can cause primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency. For Grade 2 or higher, initiate symptomatic treatment, including hormone replacement as clinically indicated. Withhold KEYTRUDA depending on severity. Adrenal insufficiency occurred in 0.8% (22/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 4 (<0.1%), Grade 3 (0.3%), and Grade 2 (0.3%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 77% (17/22) of patients; of these, the majority remained on systemic corticosteroids. Adrenal insufficiency led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in <0.1% (1) and withholding in 0.3% (8) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement.

Hypophysitis

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated hypophysitis. Hypophysitis can present with acute symptoms associated with mass effect such as headache, photophobia, or visual field defects. Hypophysitis can cause hypopituitarism. Initiate hormone replacement as indicated. Withhold or permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA depending on severity. Hypophysitis occurred in 0.6% (17/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 4 (<0.1%), Grade 3 (0.3%), and Grade 2 (0.2%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 94% (16/17) of patients; of these, the majority remained on systemic corticosteroids. Hypophysitis led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 0.1% (4) and withholding in 0.3% (7) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement.

Thyroid Disorders

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated thyroid disorders. Thyroiditis can present with or without endocrinopathy. Hypothyroidism can follow hyperthyroidism. Initiate hormone replacement for hypothyroidism or institute medical management of hyperthyroidism as clinically indicated. Withhold or permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA depending on severity. Thyroiditis occurred in 0.6% (16/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 2 (0.3%). None discontinued, but KEYTRUDA was withheld in <0.1% (1) of patients.

Hyperthyroidism occurred in 3.4% (96/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 3 (0.1%) and Grade 2 (0.8%). It led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in <0.1% (2) and withholding in 0.3% (7) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement. Hypothyroidism occurred in 8% (237/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 3 (0.1%) and Grade 2 (6.2%). It led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in <0.1% (1) and withholding in 0.5% (14) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement. The majority of patients with hypothyroidism required long-term thyroid hormone replacement. The incidence of new or worsening hypothyroidism was higher in 1185 patients with HNSCC, occurring in 16% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent or in combination with platinum and FU, including Grade 3 (0.3%) hypothyroidism. The incidence of new or worsening hypothyroidism was higher in 389 adult patients with cHL (17%) receiving KEYTRUDA as a single agent, including Grade 1 (6.2%) and Grade 2 (10.8%) hypothyroidism.

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (DM), Which Can Present With Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Monitor patients for hyperglycemia or other signs and symptoms of diabetes. Initiate treatment with insulin as clinically indicated. Withhold KEYTRUDA depending on severity. Type 1 DM occurred in 0.2% (6/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA. It led to permanent discontinuation in <0.1% (1) and withholding of KEYTRUDA in <0.1% (1) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement.

Immune-Mediated Nephritis With Renal Dysfunction

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated nephritis. Immune-mediated nephritis occurred in 0.3% (9/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 4 (<0.1%), Grade 3 (0.1%), and Grade 2 (0.1%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 89% (8/9) of patients. Nephritis led to permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA in 0.1% (3) and withholding in 0.1% (3) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement; of these, none had recurrence. Nephritis resolved in 56% of the 9 patients.

Immune-Mediated Dermatologic Adverse Reactions

KEYTRUDA can cause immune-mediated rash or dermatitis. Exfoliative dermatitis, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome, drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms, and toxic epidermal necrolysis, has occurred with anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatments. Topical emollients and/or topical corticosteroids may be adequate to treat mild to moderate nonexfoliative rashes. Withhold or permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA depending on severity. Immune-mediated dermatologic adverse reactions occurred in 1.4% (38/2799) of patients receiving KEYTRUDA, including Grade 3 (1%) and Grade 2 (0.1%) reactions. Systemic corticosteroids were required in 40% (15/38) of patients. These reactions led to permanent discontinuation in 0.1% (2) and withholding of KEYTRUDA in 0.6% (16) of patients. All patients who were withheld reinitiated KEYTRUDA after symptom improvement; of these, 6% had recurrence. The reactions resolved in 79% of the 38 patients.

Other Immune-Mediated Adverse Reactions

The following clinically significant immune-mediated adverse reactions occurred at an incidence of <1% (unless otherwise noted) in patients who received KEYTRUDA or were reported with the use of other anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatments. Severe or fatal cases have been reported for some of these adverse reactions. Cardiac/Vascular: Myocarditis, pericarditis, vasculitis; Nervous System: Meningitis, encephalitis, myelitis and demyelination, myasthenic syndrome/myasthenia gravis (including exacerbation), Guillain-Barré syndrome, nerve paresis, autoimmune neuropathy; Ocular: Uveitis, iritis and other ocular inflammatory toxicities can occur. Some cases can be associated with retinal detachment. Various grades of visual impairment, including blindness, can occur. If uveitis occurs in combination with other immune-mediated adverse reactions, consider a Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada-like syndrome, as this may require treatment with systemic steroids to reduce the risk of permanent vision loss; Gastrointestinal: Pancreatitis, to include increases in serum amylase and lipase levels, gastritis, duodenitis; Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue: Myositis/polymyositis, rhabdomyolysis (and associated sequelae, including renal failure), arthritis (1.5%), polymyalgia rheumatica; Endocrine: Hypoparathyroidism; Hematologic/Immune: Hemolytic anemia, aplastic anemia, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, systemic inflammatory response syndrome, histiocytic necrotizing lymphadenitis (Kikuchi lymphadenitis), sarcoidosis, immune thrombocytopenic purpura, solid organ transplant rejection.

Infusion-Related Reactions

KEYTRUDA can cause severe or life-threatening infusion-related reactions, including hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis, which have been reported in 0.2% of 2799 patients receiving KEYTRUDA. Monitor for signs and symptoms of infusion-related reactions. Interrupt or slow the rate of infusion for Grade 1 or Grade 2 reactions. For Grade 3 or Grade 4 reactions, stop infusion and permanently discontinue KEYTRUDA.

Complications of Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT)

Fatal and other serious complications can occur in patients who receive allogeneic HSCT before or after anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatment. Transplant-related complications include hyperacute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), acute and chronic GVHD, hepatic veno-occlusive disease after reduced intensity conditioning, and steroid-requiring febrile syndrome (without an identified infectious cause). These complications may occur despite intervening therapy between anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatment and allogeneic HSCT. Follow patients closely for evidence of these complications and intervene promptly. Consider the benefit vs risks of using anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatments prior to or after an allogeneic HSCT.

Increased Mortality in Patients With Multiple Myeloma

In trials in patients with multiple myeloma, the addition of KEYTRUDA to a thalidomide analogue plus dexamethasone resulted in increased mortality. Treatment of these patients with an anti–PD-1/PD-L1 treatment in this combination is not recommended outside of controlled trials.

Embryofetal Toxicity

Based on its mechanism of action, KEYTRUDA can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Advise women of this potential risk. In females of reproductive potential, verify pregnancy status prior to initiating KEYTRUDA and advise them to use effective contraception during treatment and for 4 months after the last dose.

Adverse Reactions

In KEYNOTE-006, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 9% of 555 patients with advanced melanoma; adverse reactions leading to permanent discontinuation in more than one patient were colitis (1.4%), autoimmune hepatitis (0.7%), allergic reaction (0.4%), polyneuropathy (0.4%), and cardiac failure (0.4%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) with KEYTRUDA were fatigue (28%), diarrhea (26%), rash (24%), and nausea (21%).

In KEYNOTE-054, KEYTRUDA was permanently discontinued due to adverse reactions in 14% of 509 patients; the most common (≥1%) were pneumonitis (1.4%), colitis (1.2%), and diarrhea (1%). Serious adverse reactions occurred in 25% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA. The most common adverse reaction (≥20%) with KEYTRUDA was diarrhea (28%).

In KEYNOTE-189, when KEYTRUDA was administered with pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy in metastatic nonsquamous NSCLC, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 20% of 405 patients. The most common adverse reactions resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA were pneumonitis (3%) and acute kidney injury (2%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) with KEYTRUDA were nausea (56%), fatigue (56%), constipation (35%), diarrhea (31%), decreased appetite (28%), rash (25%), vomiting (24%), cough (21%), dyspnea (21%), and pyrexia (20%).

In KEYNOTE-407, when KEYTRUDA was administered with carboplatin and either paclitaxel or paclitaxel protein-bound in metastatic squamous NSCLC, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 15% of 101 patients. The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported in at least 2% of patients were febrile neutropenia, pneumonia, and urinary tract infection. Adverse reactions observed in KEYNOTE-407 were similar to those observed in KEYNOTE-189 with the exception that increased incidences of alopecia (47% vs 36%) and peripheral neuropathy (31% vs 25%) were observed in the KEYTRUDA and chemotherapy arm compared to the placebo and chemotherapy arm in KEYNOTE-407.

In KEYNOTE-042, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 19% of 636 patients with advanced NSCLC; the most common were pneumonitis (3%), death due to unknown cause (1.6%), and pneumonia (1.4%). The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported in at least 2% of patients were pneumonia (7%), pneumonitis (3.9%), pulmonary embolism (2.4%), and pleural effusion (2.2%). The most common adverse reaction (≥20%) was fatigue (25%).

In KEYNOTE-010, KEYTRUDA monotherapy was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8% of 682 patients with metastatic NSCLC; the most common was pneumonitis (1.8%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were decreased appetite (25%), fatigue (25%), dyspnea (23%), and nausea (20%).

In KEYNOTE-048, KEYTRUDA monotherapy was discontinued due to adverse events in 12% of 300 patients with HNSCC; the most common adverse reactions leading to permanent discontinuation were sepsis (1.7%) and pneumonia (1.3%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were fatigue (33%), constipation (20%), and rash (20%).

In KEYNOTE-048, when KEYTRUDA was administered in combination with platinum (cisplatin or carboplatin) and FU chemotherapy, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 16% of 276 patients with HNSCC. The most common adverse reactions resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA were pneumonia (2.5%), pneumonitis (1.8%), and septic shock (1.4%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were nausea (51%), fatigue (49%), constipation (37%), vomiting (32%), mucosal inflammation (31%), diarrhea (29%), decreased appetite (29%), stomatitis (26%), and cough (22%).

In KEYNOTE-012, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 17% of 192 patients with HNSCC. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 45% of patients. The most frequent serious adverse reactions reported in at least 2% of patients were pneumonia, dyspnea, confusional state, vomiting, pleural effusion, and respiratory failure. The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were fatigue, decreased appetite, and dyspnea. Adverse reactions occurring in patients with HNSCC were generally similar to those occurring in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy, with the exception of increased incidences of facial edema and new or worsening hypothyroidism.

In KEYNOTE-204, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 14% of 148 patients with cHL. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 30% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA; those ≥1% were pneumonitis, pneumonia, pyrexia, myocarditis, acute kidney injury, febrile neutropenia, and sepsis. Three patients died from causes other than disease progression: 2 from complications after allogeneic HSCT and 1 from unknown cause. The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were upper respiratory tract infection (41%), musculoskeletal pain (32%), diarrhea (22%), and pyrexia, fatigue, rash, and cough (20% each).

In KEYNOTE-087, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 5% of 210 patients with cHL. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 16% of patients; those ≥1% were pneumonia, pneumonitis, pyrexia, dyspnea, GVHD, and herpes zoster. Two patients died from causes other than disease progression: 1 from GVHD after subsequent allogeneic HSCT and 1 from septic shock. The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were fatigue (26%), pyrexia (24%), cough (24%), musculoskeletal pain (21%), diarrhea (20%), and rash (20%).

In KEYNOTE-170, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8% of 53 patients with PMBCL. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 26% of patients and included arrhythmia (4%), cardiac tamponade (2%), myocardial infarction (2%), pericardial effusion (2%), and pericarditis (2%). Six (11%) patients died within 30 days of start of treatment. The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were musculoskeletal pain (30%), upper respiratory tract infection and pyrexia (28% each), cough (26%), fatigue (23%), and dyspnea (21%).

In KEYNOTE-052, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 11% of 370 patients with locally advanced or mUC. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 42% of patients; those ≥2% were urinary tract infection, hematuria, acute kidney injury, pneumonia, and urosepsis. The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were fatigue (38%), musculoskeletal pain (24%), decreased appetite (22%), constipation (21%), rash (21%), and diarrhea (20%).

In KEYNOTE-045, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8% of 266 patients with locally advanced or mUC. The most common adverse reaction resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA was pneumonitis (1.9%). Serious adverse reactions occurred in 39% of KEYTRUDA-treated patients; those ≥2% were urinary tract infection, pneumonia, anemia, and pneumonitis. The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) in patients who received KEYTRUDA were fatigue (38%), musculoskeletal pain (32%), pruritus (23%), decreased appetite (21%), nausea (21%), and rash (20%).

In KEYNOTE-057, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 11% of 148 patients with high-risk NMIBC. The most common adverse reaction resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA was pneumonitis (1.4%). Serious adverse reactions occurred in 28% of patients; those ≥2% were pneumonia (3%), cardiac ischemia (2%), colitis (2%), pulmonary embolism (2%), sepsis (2%), and urinary tract infection (2%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were fatigue (29%), diarrhea (24%), and rash (24%).

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with MSI-H or dMMR CRC were similar to those occurring in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy.

In KEYNOTE-811, when KEYTRUDA was administered in combination with trastuzumab, fluoropyrimidine- and platinum-containing chemotherapy, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 6% of 217 patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic HER2+ gastric or GEJ adenocarcinoma. The most common adverse reaction resulting in permanent discontinuation was pneumonitis (1.4%). In the KEYTRUDA arm versus placebo, there was a difference of ≥5% incidence between patients treated with KEYTRUDA versus standard of care for diarrhea (53% vs 44%) and nausea (49% vs 44%).

The most common adverse reactions (reported in ≥20%) in patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy were fatigue/asthenia, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, decreased appetite, rash, vomiting, cough, dyspnea, pyrexia, alopecia, peripheral neuropathy, mucosal inflammation, stomatitis, headache, weight loss, abdominal pain, arthralgia, myalgia, and insomnia.

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with gastric cancer who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy were similar to those occurring in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy.

In KEYNOTE-590, when KEYTRUDA was administered with cisplatin and fluorouracil to patients with metastatic or locally advanced esophageal or GEJ (tumors with epicenter 1 to 5 centimeters above the GEJ) carcinoma who were not candidates for surgical resection or definitive chemoradiation, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 15% of 370 patients. The most common adverse reactions resulting in permanent discontinuation of KEYTRUDA (≥1%) were pneumonitis (1.6%), acute kidney injury (1.1%), and pneumonia (1.1%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) with KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy were nausea (67%), fatigue (57%), decreased appetite (44%), constipation (40%), diarrhea (36%), vomiting (34%), stomatitis (27%), and weight loss (24%).

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with esophageal cancer who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy were similar to those occurring in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy.

In KEYNOTE-826, when KEYTRUDA was administered in combination with paclitaxel and cisplatin or paclitaxel and carboplatin, with or without bevacizumab (n=307), to patients with persistent, recurrent, or first-line metastatic cervical cancer regardless of tumor PD-L1 expression who had not been treated with chemotherapy except when used concurrently as a radio-sensitizing agent, fatal adverse reactions occurred in 4.6% of patients, including 3 cases of hemorrhage, 2 cases each of sepsis and due to unknown causes, and 1 case each of acute myocardial infarction, autoimmune encephalitis, cardiac arrest, cerebrovascular accident, femur fracture with perioperative pulmonary embolus, intestinal perforation, and pelvic infection. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 50% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy with or without bevacizumab; those ≥3% were febrile neutropenia (6.8%), urinary tract infection (5.2%), anemia (4.6%), and acute kidney injury and sepsis (3.3% each).

KEYTRUDA was discontinued in 15% of patients due to adverse reactions. The most common adverse reaction resulting in permanent discontinuation (≥1%) was colitis (1%).

For patients treated with KEYTRUDA, chemotherapy, and bevacizumab (n=196), the most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were peripheral neuropathy (62%), alopecia (58%), anemia (55%), fatigue/asthenia (53%), nausea and neutropenia (41% each), diarrhea (39%), hypertension and thrombocytopenia (35% each), constipation and arthralgia (31% each), vomiting (30%), urinary tract infection (27%), rash (26%), leukopenia (24%), hypothyroidism (22%), and decreased appetite (21%).

For patients treated with KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy with or without bevacizumab, the most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were peripheral neuropathy (58%), alopecia (56%), fatigue (47%), nausea (40%), diarrhea (36%), constipation (28%), arthralgia (27%), vomiting (26%), hypertension and urinary tract infection (24% each), and rash (22%).

In KEYNOTE-158, KEYTRUDA was discontinued due to adverse reactions in 8% of 98 patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 39% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA; the most frequent included anemia (7%), fistula, hemorrhage, and infections [except urinary tract infections] (4.1% each). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were fatigue (43%), musculoskeletal pain (27%), diarrhea (23%), pain and abdominal pain (22% each), and decreased appetite (21%).

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with HCC were generally similar to those in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy, with the exception of increased incidences of ascites (8% Grades 3-4) and immune-mediated hepatitis (2.9%). Laboratory abnormalities (Grades 3-4) that occurred at a higher incidence were elevated AST (20%), ALT (9%), and hyperbilirubinemia (10%).

Among the 50 patients with MCC enrolled in study KEYNOTE-017, adverse reactions occurring in patients with MCC were generally similar to those occurring in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy. Laboratory abnormalities (Grades 3-4) that occurred at a higher incidence were elevated AST (11%) and hyperglycemia (19%).

In KEYNOTE-426, when KEYTRUDA was administered in combination with axitinib, fatal adverse reactions occurred in 3.3% of 429 patients. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 40% of patients, the most frequent (≥1%) were hepatotoxicity (7%), diarrhea (4.2%), acute kidney injury (2.3%), dehydration (1%), and pneumonitis (1%). Permanent discontinuation due to an adverse reaction occurred in 31% of patients; KEYTRUDA only (13%), axitinib only (13%), and the combination (8%); the most common were hepatotoxicity (13%), diarrhea/colitis (1.9%), acute kidney injury (1.6%), and cerebrovascular accident (1.2%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) were diarrhea (56%), fatigue/asthenia (52%), hypertension (48%), hepatotoxicity (39%), hypothyroidism (35%), decreased appetite (30%), palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (28%), nausea (28%), stomatitis/mucosal inflammation (27%), dysphonia (25%), rash (25%), cough (21%), and constipation (21%).

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with TMB-H cancer were similar to those occurring in patients with other solid tumors who received KEYTRUDA as a single agent.

Adverse reactions occurring in patients with recurrent or metastatic cSCC or locally advanced cSCC were similar to those occurring in patients with melanoma or NSCLC who received KEYTRUDA as a monotherapy.

In KEYNOTE-522, when KEYTRUDA was administered with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (carboplatin and paclitaxel followed by doxorubicin or epirubicin and cyclophosphamide) followed by surgery and continued adjuvant treatment with KEYTRUDA as a single agent (n=778) to patients with newly diagnosed, previously untreated, high-risk early-stage TNBC, fatal adverse reactions occurred in 0.9% of patients, including 1 each of adrenal crisis, autoimmune encephalitis, hepatitis, pneumonia, pneumonitis, pulmonary embolism, and sepsis in association with multiple organ dysfunction syndrome and myocardial infarction. Serious adverse reactions occurred in 44% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA; those ≥2% were febrile neutropenia (15%), pyrexia (3.7%), anemia (2.6%), and neutropenia (2.2%). KEYTRUDA was discontinued in 20% of patients due to adverse reactions. The most common reactions (≥1%) resulting in permanent discontinuation were increased ALT (2.7%), increased AST (1.5%), and rash (1%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) in patients receiving KEYTRUDA were fatigue (70%), nausea (67%), alopecia (61%), rash (52%), constipation (42%), diarrhea and peripheral neuropathy (41% each), stomatitis (34%), vomiting (31%), headache (30%), arthralgia (29%), pyrexia (28%), cough (26%), abdominal pain (24%), decreased appetite (23%), insomnia (21%), and myalgia (20%).

In KEYNOTE-355, when KEYTRUDA and chemotherapy (paclitaxel, paclitaxel protein-bound, or gemcitabine and carboplatin) were administered to patients with locally recurrent unresectable or metastatic TNBC who had not been previously treated with chemotherapy in the metastatic setting (n=596), fatal adverse reactions occurred in 2.5% of patients, including cardio-respiratory arrest (0.7%) and septic shock (0.3%). Serious adverse reactions occurred in 30% of patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy; the serious reactions in ≥2% were pneumonia (2.9%), anemia (2.2%), and thrombocytopenia (2%). KEYTRUDA was discontinued in 11% of patients due to adverse reactions. The most common reactions resulting in permanent discontinuation (≥1%) were increased ALT (2.2%), increased AST (1.5%), and pneumonitis (1.2%). The most common adverse reactions (≥20%) in patients receiving KEYTRUDA in combination with chemotherapy were fatigue (48%), nausea (44%), alopecia (34%), diarrhea and constipation (28% each), vomiting and rash (26% each), cough (23%), decreased appetite (21%), and headache (20%).

Lactation

Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in breastfed children, advise women not to breastfeed during treatment and for 4 months after the final dose.

Pediatric Use

In KEYNOTE-051, 161 pediatric patients (62 pediatric patients aged 6 months to younger than 12 years and 99 pediatric patients aged 12 years to 17 years) were administered KEYTRUDA 2 mg/kg every 3 weeks. The median duration of exposure was 2.1 months (range: 1 day to 24 months).

Adverse reactions that occurred at a ≥10% higher rate in pediatric patients when compared to adults were pyrexia (33%), vomiting (30%), leukopenia (30%), upper respiratory tract infection (29%), neutropenia (26%), headache (25%), and Grade 3 anemia (17%).

Merck’s Focus on Cancer

Our goal is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. At Merck, the potential to bring new hope to people with cancer drives our purpose and supporting accessibility to our cancer medicines is our commitment. As part of our focus on cancer, Merck is committed to exploring the potential of immuno-oncology with one of the largest development programs in the industry across more than 30 tumor types. We also continue to strengthen our portfolio through strategic acquisitions and are prioritizing the development of several promising oncology candidates with the potential to improve the treatment of advanced cancers. For more information about our oncology clinical trials, visit www.merck.com/clinicaltrials.

"No Clear Response" Ends Early-Stage Daiichi Sankyo ADC Program

On October 29, 2021 Daiichi Sankyo’s investigational GPR20 directed antibody drug conjugate DS-6157 reported that entered the clinic as a potential treatment for patients with advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), the company has terminated the clinical program due to a lack of clinical response (Press release, Daiichi Sankyo, OCT 29, 2021, https://www.biospace.com/article/daiichi-sankyo-scraps-phase-i-adc-aimed-at-gist-following-poor-clinical-findings/ [SID1234593974]).

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Daiichi Sankyo announced the decision in its third quarter financial report this morning. The company said that the Phase I data yielded "no clear responses in GIST patients at any dose level in Phase I dose escalation. Based on those results, the company opted to terminate the development of DS-6157 without proceeding to dose escalation.

DS-6157 is a potential first-in-class GPR20 targeting ADC. By using ADCs, companies aim to produce the payload of cytotoxic chemotherapy to cancer cells by using linker technology attached to a monoclonal antibody. When delivered, the drug binds to a specific target on the cancer cell. In the case of DS-6157, that target was cancer cells that express G Protein-Coupled Receptor (GPR20), which are typically found in gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Preclinical data showed that DS-6157 specifically binds to GPR20 on the surface of individual tumor cells.

DS-6157 was the fifth DXd ADC from the oncology pipeline of Daiichi Sankyo to enter clinical development, and it is the second drug type developed with Sarah Cannon Research Institute. In the Phase I study initiated in May 2020, the company was assessing the drug in GIST patients who have progressed on, or are intolerant to, standard treatment. Typical treatment for this type of cancer includes recommended surgery and targeted therapy with tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Other than its notice that there were no clear responses in GIST patients, Daiichi Sankyo has not shared clinical results from the Phase I study. The company did note that it is continuing to examine the study’s information to explore "possible mechanisms of the non-responsiveness." The company plans to present the Phase I data at a scientific conference sometime in 2022.

GIST is a rare, genomically driven sarcoma of the gastrointestinal tract. More than half of GISTs start in the stomach. Most of the others form in the small intestine, but GISTs can begin anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract.

While DS-6157 development has been scrapped for this indication, Daiichi Sankyo maintains a strong pipeline of ADC drugs. Earlier this year, Enhertu, an ADC co-developed with AstraZeneca, was approved to treat gastric cancer by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It was the first HER2-directed drug to be approved for this indication in the past 10 years.

Enhertu was previously approved as a treatment for adults with unresectable or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer who have had two or more previous anti-HER2-based therapies in the metastatic setting.

Daiichi Sankyo’s DXd ADC portfolio comprises seven antibody drug assets, including Enhertu. Other ADC candidates include datopotamab deruxtecan, a TROP2 directed ADC, which is also being jointly developed with AstraZeneca; patritumab deruxtecan, a HER3 directed ADC; DS-7300, a B7-H3 directed ADC; and DS-6157, a GPR20 directed ADC. The last three assets are being developed in collaboration with Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute.