Merck and Eli Lilly and Company have announced an oncology clinical trial collaboration to evaluate the safety, tolerability and efficacy of KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, in combination with Lilly compounds in multiple clinical trials:
Merck will conduct a Phase 2 study examining the combination of pembrolizumab with pemetrexed in first-line non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This study is currently enrolling.
Lilly will conduct a multiple-arm Phase 1/2 study examining the combination of ramucirumab with pembrolizumab in multiple tumors. This study is anticipated to begin in 2015.
Lilly will conduct a Phase 1/2 study examining the combination of necitumumab with pembrolizumab in NSCLC. This study is anticipated to begin in 2015.
The agreement is between Lilly and Merck, through a subsidiary. Additional details of the collaboration were not disclosed.
“Cancer is not one disease but rather more than 200 diseases, all of which have different causes and treatments,” said Richard Gaynor, M.D., senior vice president, product development and medical affairs, Lilly Oncology. “Therefore research into combinations of immune-based therapies with other agents that could address these different tumor types is important. This collaboration between Lilly and Merck represents each company’s strong commitment to patients fighting these devastating diseases.”
“Our understanding of the immune system’s role and its impact in the treatment of cancer continues to grow,” said Eric Rubin, M.D., vice president, global clinical development, oncology, Merck Research Laboratories. “Collaborations such as this one are important in advancing the investigation of novel immuno-oncology combinations in different cancers, and to achieving our shared goal of bringing meaningful benefits to patients facing cancer."