Merck Hikes on Positive Opinion

Merck (NYSE: MRK) powered out of the blocks Friday on word that the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) adopted a positive opinion recommending approval of KEYTRUDA, Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, as monotherapy for the adjuvant treatment of adults and adolescents aged 12 years and older with stage IIB or IIC melanoma and who have undergone complete resection.

Additionally, the CHMP recommended expanding the indications for KEYTRUDA in advanced (unresectable or metastatic) melanoma and stage III melanoma (as adjuvant treatment following complete resection) to include adolescent patients aged 12 years and older.

“Based on the results of the KEYNOTE-716 trial, KEYTRUDA has shown a significant improvement in recurrence-free survival and distant metastasis-free survival for these patients with resected stage IIB or IIC melanoma,” said Dr. Scot Ebbinghaus, vice president, global clinical development, Merck Research Laboratories. “The CHMP’s positive recommendation brings us one step closer to providing patients 12 years and older in the European Union with a new option for resected stage IIB or IIC melanoma that can reduce the risk of their cancer returning.”

The CHMP’s recommendation will now be reviewed by the European Commission for marketing authorization in the European Union, and a final decision is expected in the second or third quarter of 2022.
MRK shares vaulted $1.15, or 1.3%, to $93.24.