AstraZeneca and Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced high-level results from the Phase 3 GY004 trial, led by NRG Oncology and sponsored by the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI), that examined primarily the efficacy and safety of investigational medicine cediranib in combination with LYNPARZA versus platinum-based chemotherapy in patients with platinum-sensitive relapsed ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cause of death from cancer in women worldwide.
The trial did not meet the primary endpoint in the intent-to-treat (ITT) population of a statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) with cediranib in combination with LYNPARZA vs. platinum-based chemotherapy. Cediranib is an investigational oral vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) inhibitor, which blocks the growth of blood vessels supporting tumor growth.
Dr. Jose Baselga, executive vice president, oncology R&D, AstraZeneca, said, “Despite these disappointing results, we remain committed to expanding on the benefits already demonstrated with LYNPARZA for patients with advanced ovarian cancer. We will work closely with NRG Oncology and the NCI to review the full results to inform our ongoing research.”
Dr. Roy Baynes, senior vice president and head of global clinical development, chief medical officer, Merck Research Laboratories, said, “Ovarian cancer is one of the most difficult tumors to diagnose and treat early. AstraZeneca, Merck and our partners will continue to explore ways to help patients through our joint clinical trial development program.”
The safety and tolerability profiles observed in GY004 were generally consistent with those known for each medicine.
The NCI and NRG Oncology will present the full data at a forthcoming medical meeting.
GY004 is an open-label, randomized, multicenter, Phase 3 study testing the efficacy and safety of investigational medicine cediranib and LYNPARZA or LYNPARZA alone vs. standard platinum-based chemotherapy in patients with recurrent platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer patients. The study enrolled patients with or without a BRCA mutation. The study had a hierarchical statistical testing scheme which precluded formally testing LYNPARZA vs. chemotherapy based on the results of the cedarinib and LYNPARZA arm.
The GY004 trial is led by NRG Oncology, a non-profit research organization funded by the NCI, in collaboration with AstraZeneca. The NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health. AstraZeneca provided both cediranib and LYNPARZA to support the trial through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the NCI.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION FOR LYNPARZA
There are no contraindications for LYNPARZA.
WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
Myelodysplastic Syndrome/Acute Myeloid Leukemia (MDS/AML): Occurred in <1.5% of patients exposed to LYNPARZA monotherapy, and the majority of events had a fatal outcome. The duration of therapy in patients who developed secondary MDS/AML varied from <6 months to >2 years. All of these patients had previous chemotherapy with platinum agents and/or other DNA-damaging agents, including radiotherapy, and some also had a history of more than one primary malignancy or of bone marrow dysplasia.
Do not start LYNPARZA until patients have recovered from hematological toxicity caused by previous chemotherapy (≤Grade 1). Monitor complete blood count for cytopenia at baseline and monthly thereafter for clinically significant changes during treatment. For prolonged hematological toxicities, interrupt LYNPARZA and monitor blood count weekly until recovery.
If the levels have not recovered to Grade 1 or less after 4 weeks, refer the patient to a hematologist for further investigations, including bone marrow analysis and blood sample for cytogenetics. Discontinue LYNPARZA if MDS/AML is confirmed.
Pneumonitis: Occurred in <1% of patients exposed to LYNPARZA, and some cases were fatal. If patients present with new or worsening respiratory symptoms such as dyspnea, cough, and fever, or a radiological abnormality occurs, interrupt LYNPARZA treatment and initiate prompt investigation. Discontinue LYNPARZA if pneumonitis is confirmed and treat patient appropriately.
Embryo-Fetal Toxicity: Based on its mechanism of action and findings in animals, LYNPARZA can cause fetal harm. A pregnancy test is recommended for females of reproductive potential prior to initiating treatment.
Advise females of reproductive potential of the potential risk to a fetus and to use effective contraception during treatment and for 6 months following the last dose.
Advise male patients with female partners of reproductive potential or who are pregnant to use effective contraception during treatment and for 3 months following the last dose of LYNPARZA and to not donate sperm during this time.
ADVERSE REACTIONS—First-Line Maintenance BRCAm Advanced Ovarian Cancer
Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥10% of patients in clinical trials of LYNPARZA in the first-line maintenance setting for SOLO-1 were: nausea (77%), fatigue (67%), abdominal pain (45%), vomiting (40%), anemia (38%), diarrhea (37%), constipation (28%), upper respiratory tract infection/influenza/ nasopharyngitis/bronchitis (28%), dysgeusia (26%), decreased appetite (20%), dizziness (20%), neutropenia (17%), dyspepsia (17%), dyspnea (15%), leukopenia (13%), UTI (13%), thrombocytopenia (11%), and stomatitis (11%).
Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients in clinical trials of LYNPARZA in the first-line maintenance setting for SOLO-1 were: decrease in hemoglobin (87%), increase in mean corpuscular volume (87%), decrease in leukocytes (70%), decrease in lymphocytes (67%), decrease in absolute neutrophil count (51%), decrease in platelets (35%), and increase in serum creatinine (34%).
ADVERSE REACTIONS—Maintenance Recurrent Ovarian Cancer
Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥20% of patients in clinical trials of LYNPARZA in the maintenance setting for SOLO-2 were: nausea (76%), fatigue (including asthenia) (66%), anemia (44%), vomiting (37%), nasopharyngitis/upper respiratory tract infection (URI)/influenza (36%), diarrhea (33%), arthralgia/myalgia (30%), dysgeusia (27%), headache (26%), decreased appetite (22%), and stomatitis (20%).
Study 19: nausea (71%), fatigue (including asthenia) (63%), vomiting (35%), diarrhea (28%), anemia (23%), respiratory tract infection (22%), constipation (22%), headache (21%), decreased appetite (21%), and dyspepsia (20%).
Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients in clinical trials of LYNPARZA in the maintenance setting (SOLO-2/Study 19) were: increase in mean corpuscular volume (89%/82%), decrease in hemoglobin (83%/82%), decrease in leukocytes (69%/58%), decrease in lymphocytes (67%/52%), decrease in absolute neutrophil count (51%/47%), increase in serum creatinine (44%/45%), and decrease in platelets (42%/36%).
ADVERSE REACTIONS—Advanced gBRCAm Ovarian Cancer
Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥20% of patients in clinical trials of LYNPARZA for advanced gBRCAm ovarian cancer after 3 or more lines of chemotherapy (pooled from 6 studies) were: fatigue/asthenia (66%), nausea (64%), vomiting (43%), anemia (34%), diarrhea (31%), nasopharyngitis/upper respiratory tract infection (URI) (26%), dyspepsia (25%), myalgia (22%), decreased appetite (22%), and arthralgia/musculoskeletal pain (21%).
Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients in clinical trials of LYNPARZA for advanced gBRCAm ovarian cancer (pooled from 6 studies) were: decrease in hemoglobin (90%), mean corpuscular volume elevation (57%), decrease in lymphocytes (56%), increase in serum creatinine (30%), decrease in platelets (30%), and decrease in absolute neutrophil count (25%).
ADVERSE REACTIONS—gBRCAm, HER2-negative Metastatic Breast Cancer
Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥20% of patients in OlympiAD were: nausea (58%), anemia (40%), fatigue (including asthenia) (37%), vomiting (30%), neutropenia (27%), respiratory tract infection (27%), leukopenia (25%), diarrhea (21%), and headache (20%).
Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in >25% of patients in OlympiAD were: decrease in hemoglobin (82%), decrease in lymphocytes (73%), decrease in leukocytes (71%), increase in mean corpuscular volume (71%), decrease in absolute neutrophil count (46%), and decrease in platelets (33%).
ADVERSE REACTIONS—First-Line Maintenance gBRCAm Metastatic Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma
Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥10% of patients in clinical trials of LYNPARZA in the first-line maintenance setting for POLO were: fatigue (60%), nausea (45%), abdominal pain (34%), diarrhea (29%), anemia (27%), decreased appetite (25%), constipation (23%), vomiting (20%), back pain (19%), arthralgia (15%), rash (15%), thrombocytopenia (14%), dyspnea (13%), neutropenia (12%), nasopharyngitis (12%), dysgeusia (11%), and stomatitis (10%).
Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients in clinical trials of LYNPARZA in the first-line maintenance setting for POLO were: increase in serum creatinine (99%), decrease in hemoglobin (86%), increase in mean corpuscular volume (71%), decrease in lymphocytes (61%), decrease in platelets (56%), decrease in leukocytes (50%), and decrease in absolute neutrophil count (25%).
Anticancer Agents: Clinical studies of LYNPARZA in combination with other myelosuppressive anticancer agents, including DNA-damaging agents, indicate a potentiation and prolongation of myelosuppressive toxicity.
CYP3A Inhibitors: Avoid concomitant use of strong or moderate CYP3A inhibitors. If a strong or moderate CYP3A inhibitor must be co-administered, reduce the dose of LYNPARZA. Advise patients to avoid grapefruit, grapefruit juice, Seville oranges, and Seville orange juice during LYNPARZA treatment.
CYP3A Inducers: Avoid concomitant use of strong or moderate CYP3A inducers when using LYNPARZA. If a moderate inducer cannot be avoided, there is a potential for decreased efficacy of LYNPARZA.
USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS
Lactation: No data are available regarding the presence of olaparib in human milk, its effects on the breastfed infant or on milk production. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in the breastfed infant, advise a lactating woman not to breastfeed during treatment with LYNPARZA and for 1 month after receiving the final dose.
Pediatric Use: The safety and efficacy of LYNPARZA have not been established in pediatric patients.
Hepatic Impairment: No adjustment to the starting dose is required in patients with mild or moderate hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh classification A and B). There are no data in patients with severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh classification C).
Renal Impairment: No adjustment to the starting dose is necessary in patients with mild renal impairment (CLcr=51-80 mL/min) but patients should be monitored closely for toxicity. In patients with moderate renal impairment (CLcr=31-50 mL/min), reduce the dose to 200 mg twice daily. There are no data in patients with severe renal impairment or end-stage renal disease (CLcr ≤30 mL/min).
INDICATIONS FOR LYNPARZA
LYNPARZA is a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor indicated:
First-Line Maintenance BRCA-mutated Advanced Ovarian Cancer
For the maintenance treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious germline or somatic BRCA-mutated advanced epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer who are in complete or partial response to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.
Maintenance Recurrent Ovarian Cancer
For the maintenance treatment of adult patients with recurrent epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer, who are in complete or partial response to platinum-based chemotherapy.
Advanced gBRCAm Ovarian Cancer
For the treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious germline BRCA-mutated (gBRCAm) advanced ovarian cancer who have been treated with three or more prior lines of chemotherapy. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.
gBRCAm HER2-negative Metastatic Breast Cancer
For the treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious gBRCAm, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer, who have been treated with chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant, adjuvant or metastatic setting. Patients with hormone receptor (HR)-positive breast cancer should have been treated with a prior endocrine therapy or be considered inappropriate for endocrine therapy. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.
First-Line Maintenance gBRCAm Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer
For the maintenance treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious gBRCAm metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma whose disease has not progressed on at least 16 weeks of a first-line platinum-based chemotherapy regimen. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.
About Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cause of death from cancer in women worldwide. In 2018, there were nearly 300,000 new cases diagnosed and around 185,000 deaths. Most women are diagnosed with advanced (Stage III or IV) ovarian cancer and have a five-year survival rate of approximately 30%.
About LYNPARZA® (olaparib)
LYNPARZA is a first-in-class PARP inhibitor and the first targeted treatment to potentially exploit DNA damage response (DDR) pathway deficiencies, such as BRCA mutations, to preferentially kill cancer cells. Inhibition of PARP with LYNPARZA leads to the trapping of PARP bound to DNA single-strand breaks, stalling of replication forks, their collapse and the generation of DNA double-strand breaks and cancer cell death. LYNPARZA is being tested in a range of tumor types with defects and dependencies in the DDR.
LYNPARZA, which is being jointly developed and commercialized by AstraZeneca and Merck, has a broad and advanced clinical trial development program, and AstraZeneca and Merck are working together to understand how it may affect multiple PARP-dependent tumors as a monotherapy and in combination across multiple cancer types.
About the AstraZeneca and Merck Strategic Oncology Collaboration
In July 2017, AstraZeneca and Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, US, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced a global strategic oncology collaboration to co-develop and co-commercialize LYNPARZA, the world’s first PARP inhibitor, and potential new medicine selumetinib, a MEK inhibitor, for multiple cancer types. Working together, the companies will develop LYNPARZA and selumetinib in combination with other potential new medicines and as monotherapies. Independently, the companies will develop LYNPARZA and selumetinib in combination with their respective PD-L1 and PD-1 medicines.
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.
For more than 125 years, Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives. We demonstrate our commitment to patients and population health by increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals – including cancer, infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola, and emerging animal diseases – as we aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA
This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the “company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. There can be no guarantees with respect to pipeline products that the products will receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that they will prove to be commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.
Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.
The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in the company’s 2019 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (www.sec.gov).