Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced today that nine abstracts from the company’s diverse HIV portfolio and pipeline will be presented at the 2020 International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection (HIV Glasgow 2020, October 5-8, 2020). During the congress, researchers will present new data from Merck’s HIV development program, including 96-week results from efficacy and safety analyses from the Phase 2b study of islatravir (Merck’s investigational nucleoside reverse transcriptase translocation inhibitor (NRTTI)) in combination with doravirine (PIFELTRO™) in adults with HIV-1 infection who had not previously received antiretroviral treatment. Additionally, Merck will share results from Phase 1/1b studies of MK-8507, an investigational oral non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) under development for once-weekly oral administration in combination with islatravir. These and other data, including 144-week results from the Phase 3 DRIVE-SHIFT study evaluating the effect of switching from a stable antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimen to DELSTRIGO™ (doravirine/lamivudine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), will be shared via oral and poster presentations during the virtual congress.
“Merck remains at the forefront of research to develop new medicines for people living with HIV. The new data we will present at HIV Glasgow 2020 from our HIV research programs – for doravirine, islatravir, and now MK-8507 – demonstrate our sustained innovation and unwavering commitment to help address the global burden of HIV,” said Dr. Joan Butterton, vice president, infectious diseases, Global Clinical Development, Merck Research Laboratories. “Our plans to evaluate MK-8507 as a potential partner with islatravir, as well as the ongoing clinical trials of islatravir and doravirine, illustrate the diversity of candidates in our HIV pipeline and our quest to transform the way HIV is treated.”
Select abstracts in the HIV Glasgow 2020 program include:
- Islatravir in combination with doravirine maintains HIV-1 viral suppression through 96 weeks. Oral Presentation O415. Abstract 4913173. J.M. Molina et al.
- Renal safety through 96 weeks from a phase 2 trial (P011) of islatravir and doravirine in treatment-naïve adults with HIV-1. Poster Presentation P048. Abstract 4919993. F. Post et al.
- Analysis of protocol defined virologic failure through 96 weeks from a phase 2 trial (P011) of islatravir and doravirine in treatment-naïve adults with HIV-1. Poster Presentation P047. Abstract 4913025. C. Orkin et al.
- Long-term treatment safety and efficacy following switch to doravirine/lamivudine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (DOR/3TC/TDF): Week 144 results of the DRIVE-SHIFT trial. Poster Presentation P037. Abstract 4922614. P. Kumar et al.
- Single doses of MK-8507, a novel HIV-1 NNRTI, reduced HIV viral load for at least a week. Oral Presentation O416. W. Ankrom et al.
- Safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics following single- and multiple-dose administration of the novel NNRTI MK-8507 with a midazolam interaction arm. Poster Presentation P099. Abstract 4913210. W. Ankrom et al.
- Islatravir Selects for HIV-1 Variants in MT4-GFP cells that Profoundly Reduce Replicative Capacity in PBMCs and Reduce Susceptibility to Islatravir but not NRTIs. Poster Presentation P120. Abstract 4920686. T. Diamond et al.
For more information, including details around the virtual programming, please visit the HIV Glasgow 2020 website.
Indications and Usage for PIFELTRO and DELSTRIGO
PIFELTRO is indicated in combination with other antiretroviral (ARV) agents for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in adult patients with no prior ARV treatment history or to replace the current ARV regimen in those who are virologically suppressed (HIV-1 RNA less than 50 copies per mL) on a stable ARV regimen with no history of treatment failure and no known substitutions associated with resistance to doravirine.
DELSTRIGO is indicated as a complete regimen for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in adult patients with no prior ARV treatment history or to replace the current ARV regimen in those who are virologically suppressed (HIV-1 RNA less than 50 copies per mL) on a stable ARV regimen with no history of treatment failure and no known substitutions associated with resistance to the individual components of DELSTRIGO.
Selected Safety Information about PIFELTRO and DELSTRIGO
Warning: Posttreatment Acute Exacerbation of Hepatitis B (HBV)
All patients with HIV-1 should be tested for the presence of HBV before initiating ARV therapy. Severe acute exacerbations of HBV have been reported in patients who are coinfected with HIV-1 and HBV and have discontinued products containing lamivudine or tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), which are components of DELSTRIGO. Patients coinfected with HIV-1 and HBV who discontinue DELSTRIGO should be monitored with both clinical and laboratory follow-up for at least several months after stopping DELSTRIGO. If appropriate, initiation of anti-HBV therapy may be warranted.
PIFELTRO and DELSTRIGO are contraindicated when co-administered with drugs that are strong cytochrome P450 (CYP)3A enzyme inducers (including the anticonvulsants carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, phenobarbital, and phenytoin; the androgen receptor inhibitor enzalutamide; the antimycobacterials rifampin and rifapentine; the cytotoxic agent mitotane; and the herbal product St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)), as significant decreases in doravirine plasma concentrations may occur, which may decrease the effectiveness of DELSTRIGO and PIFELTRO.
DELSTRIGO is contraindicated in patients with a previous hypersensitivity reaction to lamivudine.
Renal impairment, including cases of acute renal failure and Fanconi syndrome, have been reported with the use of TDF. DELSTRIGO should be avoided with concurrent or recent use of a nephrotoxic agent (e.g., high-dose or multiple NSAIDs). Cases of acute renal failure after initiation of high-dose or multiple NSAIDs have been reported in patients with risk factors for renal dysfunction who appeared stable on TDF.
Prior to or when initiating DELSTRIGO, and during treatment, assess serum creatinine, estimated creatinine clearance, urine glucose, and urine protein in all patients. In patients with chronic kidney disease, also assess serum phosphorus. Discontinue DELSTRIGO in patients who develop clinically significant decreases in renal function or evidence of Fanconi syndrome. Discontinue DELSTRIGO if estimated creatinine clearance declines below 50 mL/min.
In clinical trials in HIV-1 infected adults, TDF was associated with slightly greater decreases in bone mineral density (BMD) and increases in biochemical markers of bone metabolism. Serum parathyroid hormone levels and 1,25 Vitamin D levels were also higher. Cases of osteomalacia associated with proximal renal tubulopathy have been reported with the use of TDF.
Immune reconstitution syndrome can occur, including the occurrence of autoimmune disorders with variable time to onset, which may necessitate further evaluation and treatment.
Because DELSTRIGO is a complete regimen, co-administration with other antiretroviral medications for the treatment of HIV-1 infection is not recommended.
Co-administration of PIFELTRO with efavirenz, etravirine, or nevirapine is not recommended.
If DELSTRIGO is co-administered with rifabutin, take one tablet of DELSTRIGO once daily, followed by one tablet of doravirine (PIFELTRO) approximately 12 hours after the dose of DELSTRIGO.
If PIFELTRO is co-administered with rifabutin, increase PIFELTRO dosage to one tablet twice daily (approximately 12 hours apart).
Consult the full Prescribing Information prior to and during treatment for more information on potential drug-drug interactions.
Because DELSTRIGO is a fixed-dose combination tablet and the dosage of lamivudine and TDF cannot be adjusted, DELSTRIGO is not recommended in patients with estimated creatinine clearance less than 50 mL/min.
The most common adverse reactions with DELSTRIGO (incidence ≥5%, all intensities) were dizziness (7%), nausea (5%), and abnormal dreams (5%). The most common adverse reactions with PIFELTRO (incidence ≥5%, all intensities) were nausea (7%), dizziness (7%), headache (6%), fatigue (6%), diarrhea (6%), abdominal pain (5%), and abnormal dreams (5%).
By Week 96 in DRIVE-FORWARD, 2% of adult subjects in the PIFELTRO group and 3% in the DRV+r group had adverse events leading to discontinuation of study medication.
By Week 96 in DRIVE-AHEAD, 3% of adult subjects in the DELSTRIGO group and 7% in the EFV/FTC/TDF group had adverse events leading to discontinuation of study medication.
In DRIVE-FORWARD, mean changes from baseline at Week 48 in LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) and non-HDL-cholesterol (non-HDL-C) were pre-specified. LDL-C: -4.6 mg/dL in the PIFELTRO group vs 9.5 mg/dL in the DRV+r group. Non-HDL-C: -5.4 mg/dL in the PIFELTRO group vs 13.7 mg/dL in the DRV+r group. The clinical benefits of these findings have not been demonstrated.
In DRIVE-AHEAD, mean changes from baseline at Week 48 in LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) and non-HDL-cholesterol (non-HDL-C) were pre-specified. LDL-C: -2.1 mg/dL in the DELSTRIGO group vs 8.3 mg/dL in the EFV/FTC/TDF group. Non-HDL-C: -4.1 mg/dL in the DELSTRIGO group vs 12.7 mg/dL in the EFV/FTC/TDF group. The clinical benefits of these findings have not been demonstrated.
In DRIVE-SHIFT, mean changes from baseline at Week 48 in LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) and non-HDL-cholesterol (non-HDL-C) were pre-specified. LDL-C: -16.3 mg/dL in the DELSTRIGO group vs -2.6 mg/dL in the PI + ritonavir group. Non-HDL-C: -24.8 mg/dL DELSTRIGO group vs -2.1 mg/dL in the PI + ritonavir group. The clinical benefits of these findings have not been demonstrated.
In DRIVE-AHEAD, neuropsychiatric adverse events were reported in the three pre-specified categories of sleep disorders and disturbances, dizziness, and altered sensorium. Twelve percent of adult subjects in the DELSTRIGO group and 26% in the EFV/FTC/TDF group reported neuropsychiatric adverse events of sleep disorders and disturbances; 9% in the DELSTRIGO group and 37% in the EFV/FTC/TDF group reported dizziness; and 4% in the DELSTRIGO group and 8% in the EFV/FTC/TDF group reported altered sensorium.
The safety of DELSTRIGO in virologically-suppressed adults was based on Week 48 data from subjects in the DRIVE-SHIFT trial. Overall, the safety profile in virologically-suppressed adult subjects was similar to that in subjects with no ARV treatment history.
Serum ALT and AST Elevations: In the DRIVE-SHIFT trial, 22% and 16% of subjects in the immediate switch group experienced ALT and AST elevations greater than 1.25 X ULN, respectively, through 48 weeks on DELSTRIGO. For these ALT and AST elevations, no apparent patterns with regard to time to onset relative to switch were observed. One percent of subjects had ALT or AST elevations greater than 5 X ULN through 48 weeks on DELSTRIGO. The ALT and AST elevations were generally asymptomatic, and not associated with bilirubin elevations. In comparison, 4% and 4% of subjects in the delayed switch group experienced ALT and AST elevations of greater than 1.25 X ULN through 24 weeks on their baseline regimen.
There is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in individuals exposed to PIFELTRO or DELSTRIGO during pregnancy. Healthcare providers are encouraged to register patients by calling the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry (APR) at 1-800-258-4263. Mothers infected with HIV-1 should be instructed not to breastfeed if they are receiving PIFELTRO or DELSTRIGO due to the potential for HIV-1 transmission.
About Islatravir (MK-8591)
Islatravir (formerly MK-8591) is Merck’s investigational nucleoside reverse transcriptase translocation inhibitor (NRTTI) currently being evaluated in clinical trials for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in combination with other antiretrovirals, as well as for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) of HIV-1 infection as a single investigational agent, across a variety of formulations.
Our Commitment to HIV
For more than 30 years, Merck has been committed to scientific research and discovery in HIV, and we continue to be driven by the conviction that more medical advances are still to come. Our focus is on pursuing research that addresses unmet medical needs and helps people living with HIV and their communities. We remain committed to working hand-in-hand with our partners in the global HIV community to address the complex challenges that hinder continued progress.
Our Commitment to Infectious Diseases
For more than 100 years, Merck has contributed to the discovery and development of novel medicines and vaccines to combat infectious diseases. In addition to a combined portfolio of vaccines and antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal medicines, Merck has multiple programs that span discovery through late-stage development. To learn more about Merck’s infectious diseases pipeline, visit www.merck.com.
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
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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).
Please see Prescribing Information for PIFELTRO (doravirine) at: https://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/p/pifeltro/pifeltro_pi.pdf; and Patient Information for PIFELTRO (doravirine) at: https://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/p/pifeltro/pifeltro_ppi.pdf
Please see Prescribing Information for DELSTRIGO (doravirine/3TC/TDF) at: https://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/d/delstrigo/delstrigo_pi.pdf and Patient Information for DELSTRIGO (doravirine/3TC/TDF) at: https://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/d/delstrigo/delstrigo_ppi.pdf
Sarra S. Herzog