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Merck to Present Latest Research From Oncology Portfolio at ASCO 2022

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Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced the latest research representing the Company’s innovative oncology portfolio has been accepted for presentation at this year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, June 3-7, 2022. Data encompass Company-sponsored, investigator-sponsored, and external collaboration studies.

Abstracts to be shared at the meeting include data for the Company’s licensed medicines BAVENCIO® (avelumab), TEPMETKO® (tepotinib) and ERBITUX® (cetuximab), and its oncology pipeline. The presentations span key tumor types including advanced urothelial carcinoma (UC), advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC), and head and neck cancer (SCCHN).

“We look forward to coming together with the scientific community at ASCO 2022, where we will share the latest data from our portfolio, which demonstrate our determination to make a real difference in the lives of patients with some of the most challenging cancers,” said Victoria Zazulina, Head of Development Unit, Oncology, for the Healthcare business of Merck.

Select presentations include:

  • BAVENCIO® (avelumab): New analyses of long-term data from the Phase III JAVELIN Bladder 100 study of BAVENCIO as first-line maintenance treatmentin advanced UC, including data from subgroups defined by best response to first-line chemotherapy and in patients who did or did not receive second-line treatment after BAVENCIO maintenance.
  • TEPMETKO® (tepotinib): Data for the oral MET inhibitor TEPMETKO include two poster presentations from the VISION trial reporting efficacy, safety and quality-of-life results of TEPMETKO in Asian patients with METex14 skipping NSCLC, and updated efficacy and safety results of TEPMETKO and exploratory biomarker analyses in patients with NSCLC with high-level MET amplification enrolled into Cohort B of the VISION trial based on liquid biopsy.
  • ERBITUX® (cetuximab): Abstracts from key investigator-sponsored studies (ISS) exploring ERBITUX-based combinations, including the Phase III FIRE-4 study of early switch-maintenance fromERBITUX/FOLFIRI to bevacizumab/5-FU and rechallenge in later lines for RAS wild-type mCRC patients, and the Phase II AVETUXIRI study evaluating BAVENCIO combined with ERBITUX and irinotecan for refractory microsatellite stable metastatic colorectal cancer.
  • Berzosertib: Results from research collaborations assessing the intravenous ataxia telangiectasia-mutated and Rad3-related protein kinase (ATR) inhibitor berzosertib, including the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program 9938 Phase I study of berzosertib plus irinotecan in patients with advanced solid tumors and NCI single-arm Phase II data of berzosertib plus topotecan in patients with relapsed extra-pulmonary small cell neuroendocrine carcinomas.

Below is a selection of key Merck-related abstracts accepted for presentation at ASCO 2022:

Title

Lead Author

Abstract/#

Session Title/Date/Time

BAVENCIO (avelumab)

Avelumab first-line (1L) maintenance for advanced urothelial carcinoma (aUC): long-term outcomes from JAVELIN Bladder 100 in subgroups defined by response to 1L chemotherapy

BP Valderrama

4559

Genitourinary Cancer—Kidney and Bladder

Saturday, June 4, 2022

1:15 PM-4:15 PM CDT

Long-term outcomes in patients with advanced urothelial carcinoma (UC) who received avelumab first-line (1L) maintenance with or without second-line (2L) treatment: exploratory analyses from JAVELIN Bladder 100

J Bellmunt

4560

Genitourinary Cancer—Kidney and Bladder

Saturday, June 4, 2022

1:15 PM-4:15 PM CDT

TEPTMETKO (tepotinib)

Tepotinib in Asian patients with advanced NSCLC with MET exon 14 (METex14) skipping

T Kato

9120

Lung Cancer—Non-Small Cell Metastatic

Monday, June 6, 2022

8:00 AM-11:00 AM CDT

Clinical response to tepotinib according to circulating tumor (ct) DNA biomarkers in patients with advanced NSCLC with high-level MET amplification (METamp) detected by liquid biopsy (LBx)

X Le

9121

Lung Cancer—Non-Small Cell Metastatic

Monday, June 6, 2022

8:00 AM-11:00 AM CDT

ERBITUX (cetuximab)

Randomized study to investigate a switch maintenance concept with 5-FU plus Bevacizumab after FOLFIRI plus Cetuximab induction treatment versus continued treatment with FOLFIRI plus cetuximab: report of a secondary endpoint of the phase-III FIRE-4 study (AIO KRK-0114)

S Stintzing

3519

Gastrointestinal

Cancer—Colorectal and Anal

Saturday, June 4, 2022

8:00 AM - 11:00 AM CDT

Pipeline

Berzosertib (M6620)*

Targeting genomic instability in extrapulmonary small cell neuroendocrine cancers: a phase II study with ATR inhibitor berzosertib and topotecan

N Takahashi

8518

Lung Cancer—Non-Small Cell Local-Regional/Small Cell/Other Thoracic Cancers

Monday, June 6, 2022

Live discussion: 12:26 PM CDT

NCI 9938: Phase I clinical trial of ATR inhibitor berzosertib (M6620, VX-970) in combination with irinotecan in patients with advanced solid tumors

LC Villaruz

3012

Developmental Therapeutics—Molecularly Targeted Agents and Tumor Biology

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Live Discussion: 4:42 PM CDT

*These studies are sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, under its Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Merck for M6620.

All Merck press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck website. Please go to www.merckgroup.com/subscribe to register online, change your selection or discontinue this service.

Commitment to Cancer
Merck is a science-led organization dedicated to delivering transformative medicines with the goal of making a meaningful difference in the lives of people affected by cancer. Our oncology research efforts aim to leverage our synergistic portfolio in oncogenic pathways, immuno-oncology, and DNA Damage Response (DDR) to tackle challenging tumor types in gastrointestinal, genitourinary, and thoracic cancers. Our curiosity drives our pursuit of treatments for even the most complex cancers, as we work to illuminate a path to scientific breakthroughs that transform patient outcomes. Learn more at www.merckgrouponcology.com.

About BAVENCIO® (avelumab)
BAVENCIO is a human anti-programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) antibody. BAVENCIO has been shown in preclinical models to engage both the adaptive and innate immune functions. By blocking the interaction of PD-L1 with PD-1 receptors, BAVENCIO has been shown to release the suppression of the T cell-mediated antitumor immune response in preclinical models.7-9 In November 2014, Merck and Pfizer announced a strategic alliance to co-develop and co-commercialize BAVENCIO.

BAVENCIO Approved Indications
The European Commission (EC) has authorized the use of BAVENCIO as monotherapy for the first-line maintenance treatment of adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (UC) who are progression-free following platinum-based chemotherapy. BAVENCIO in combination with axitinib is indicated for the first-line treatment of adult patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). BAVENCIO is also authorized by the EC for use as a monotherapy for the treatment of adult patients with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC).

In the US, BAVENCIO is indicated for the maintenance treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (UC) that has not progressed with first-line platinum-containing chemotherapy. BAVENCIO is also indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic UC who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy, or have disease progression within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.

BAVENCIO in combination with axitinib is indicated in the US for the first-line treatment of patients with advanced RCC. Additionally, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval for BAVENCIO for the treatment of adults and pediatric patients 12 years and older with metastatic MCC. 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 confirmatory trials.

BAVENCIO is currently approved for at least one indication for patients in more than 50 countries.

BAVENCIO Safety Profile from the EU Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC)
The special warnings and precautions for use for BAVENCIO monotherapy include infusion-related reactions, as well as immune-related adverse reactions that include pneumonitis and hepatitis (including fatal cases), colitis, pancreatitis (including fatal cases), myocarditis (including fatal cases), endocrinopathies, nephritis and renal dysfunction, and other immune-related adverse reactions. The special warnings and precautions for use for BAVENCIO in combination with axitinib include hepatotoxicity.

The SmPC list of the most common adverse reactions with BAVENCIO monotherapy in patients with solid tumors includes fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, decreased appetite, constipation, infusion-related reactions, weight decreased and vomiting. The list of most common adverse reactions with BAVENCIO in combination with axitinib includes diarrhea, hypertension, fatigue, nausea, dysphonia, decreased appetite, hypothyroidism, cough, headache, dyspnea, and arthralgia.

About TEPMETKO® (tepotinib)
TEPMETKO is a once-daily oral MET inhibitor that inhibits the oncogenic MET receptor signaling caused by MET (gene) alterations. Discovered and developed in-house at Merck, TEPMETKO has a highly selective mechanism of action, with the potential to improve outcomes in aggressive tumors that have a poor prognosis and harbor these specific alterations.

TEPMETKO was the first oral MET inhibitor to receive a regulatory approval anywhere in the world for the treatment of advanced NSCLC harboring MET gene alterations, with its approval in Japan in March 2020. In February 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to TEPMETKO, making it the first and only once-daily oral MET inhibitor approved for patients in the U.S. with metastatic NSCLC with METex14 skipping alterations. Tepotinib is available in a number of countries, and under review by various other regulatory authorities globally. To meet an urgent clinical need, tepotinib is also available in a pilot zone of China in line with the government policy to drive early access for innovative medicines approved outside of China.

Merck is also investigating the potential role of tepotinib in treating patients with NSCLC and acquired resistance due to MET amplification in the Phase II INSIGHT 2 study of tepotinib in combination with osimertinib in MET amplified, advanced or metastatic NSCLC harboring activating EGFR mutations that has progressed following first-line treatment with osimertinib.

TEPMETKOSafety Profile from the EU Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC)
The special warnings and precautions for use for TEPMETKO monotherapy include Interstitial lung disease (ILD) or ILD-like adverse reactions including pneumonitis, increase of Liver enzymes (ALT and AST), QTc prolongation, and embryo-foetal toxicity.

The most common adverse reactions in ≥ 20% of exposed to tepotinib at the recommended dose in the target indication are oedema, mainly peripheral oedema, nausea, hypoalbuminaemia, diarrhoea and increase in creatinine. The most common serious adverse reactions in ≥ 1% of patients are peripheral oedema, generalised oedema and ILD.

About Berzosertib (M6620)
Berzosertib is an investigational, intravenous, potent and selective inhibitor of the ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related (ATR) protein that blocks ATR activity in cells. Berzosertib is the first ATR inhibitor evaluated in a randomized clinical trial in any tumor type, and it is the lead candidate in Merck’s DNA Damage Response (DDR) inhibitor portfolio. It is currently being investigated in a number of internal and external studies with early phase I/II data in small cell lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and various solid tumors. Berzosertib, formerly known as VX-970, was licensed from Vertex Pharmaceuticals in 2017. Berzosertib is not approved for any use anywhere in the world.

About ERBITUX® (cetuximab)
ERBITUX is an IgG1 monoclonal antibody targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). As a monoclonal antibody, the mode of action of ERBITUX is distinct from standard non-selective chemotherapy treatments in that it specifically targets and binds to the EGFR. This binding inhibits the activation of the receptor and the subsequent signal-transduction pathway, which results in reducing both the invasion of normal tissues by tumor cells and the spread of tumors to new sites. It is also believed to inhibit the ability of tumor cells to repair the damage caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy and to inhibit the formation of new blood vessels inside tumors, which appears to lead to an overall suppression of tumor growth. Based on in vitro evidence, ERBITUX also targets cytotoxic immune effector cells towards EGFR-expressing tumor cells (antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity [ADCC]).

ERBITUX has already obtained market authorization in over 100 countries worldwide for the treatment of RAS wild-type metastatic colorectal cancer and for the treatment of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Merck licensed the right to market ERBITUX, a registered trademark of ImClone LLC, outside the U.S. and Canada from ImClone LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company, in 1998.

About Merck
Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across life science, healthcare and electronics. Around 61,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2021, Merck generated sales of € 19.7 billion in 66 countries.

Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck operate as MilliporeSigma in life science, EMD Serono in healthcare, and EMD Electronics in electronics.

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