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FDA ask MSD to join blockchain supply chain network

The FDA has asked MSD to join a shared permission blockchain network to help track and trace prescription medicines and vaccines distribution in the United States.

Alongside IBM and Walmart, US firm Merck will join the blockchain network to allow for real time monitoring of medical products.  

MSD scoops up biopharma firm Tilos for $773 million

US-based firm MSD has announced it intends to acquire biopharma firm Tilos Therapeutics, and has signed a deal with the company to this effect, valued to a total of $773 million.

This new deal means that MSD will acquire all outstanding shares of Tilos through a subsidiary, which altogether come to a potential consideration of $773 million, which includes both an upfront payment as well as milestone payments dependent on the achievement of certain developmental and commercial goals.

Longest follow up trial of Merck's Keytruda sets new standard for five year survival in lung cancer

Nearly a quarter of previously untreated lung cancer patients who took Keytruda (Pembrolizumab) were alive after five years, according to the results of the longest follow-up trial for Merck’s cancer immunotherapy.

In total, 23.2% of treatment naïve patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) were alive after five years.

The data from the phase 3 KEYNOTE trial of 616 patients showed that 23.2% of previously untreated and 15.5% of previously treated patients lived for more than five years after receiving MSD’s immunotherapy.

NICE recommends MSD's Prevymis for CMV prevention following allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplant

MSD has revealed that its non-nucleoside CMV inhibitor Prevymis (letermovir) has secured recommendation from NICE, meaning it will now be made available on the NHS to patients in England and Wales for the prevention of cytomegalovirus (CMV) reactivation and disease following an allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) in adult patients seropositive for CMV.

It is estimated that between 50% and 80% of UK adults are infected with CMV, which exists in the body in an inactive state.

Top Ten most popular articles on this week

On the day that UK Prime Minister Theresa May announces her resignation, we look back on the week's biggest stories in the pharmaceutical industry.

MSD buys Peloton Therapeutics in deal worth $2.1 billion

MSD has agreed to acquire all outstanding shares in Peloton Therapeutics in a deal worth up to $2.1 billion.

US firm MSD will pay Texas-based biotech Peloton Therapeutics $1 billion upfront and a further $1.15 billion based on the achievement of regulatory and sales milestones.

The acquisition comes as MSD seeks to boost its oncology pipeline with the addition of Peloton’s lead candidate cancer drug PT2977.

Keytruda fails to improve overall survival in advanced triple-negative breast cancer

MSD has made it known that its cancer immunotherapy Keytruda (pembrolizumab) failed to meet its primary endpoint in a Phase 3 study evaluating its efficacy as a monotherapy for the second- or third-line treatment of metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).

The company revealed that the blockbuster anti-PD-1 drug failed to show superiority in improving overall survival compared to chemotherapy (capecitabine, eribulin, gemcitabine or vinorelbine). Because this primary endpoint was never met, all other endpoints were not formally tested.

MSD's Keytruda recommended on NHS in Scotland for Stage 3 melanoma

MSD has revealed that Keytruda (pembrolizumab) will be made available to NHS Scotland patients after the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) decided to recommend the drug’s use as a monotherapy in the treatment of Stage 3 melanoma with lymph node involvement in adult patients who have undergone complete resection.

Thanks to the decision, access to the drug in this indication is now harmonised across the Great British mainland, following a recommendation from NICE in December 2018 to make the immunotherapy available on the NHS in England and Wales.

AZ and MSD's Lynparza secures CHMP nod in first-line BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer

AstraZeneca and MSD’s Lynparza (olaparib) has received a positive opinion from the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), it has emerged, as a first-line maintenance treatment of BRCA-mutated advanced ovarian cancer.

Specifically, the recommendation covers the use of the drug as a maintenance treatment for adult patients advanced BRCA1/2-mutated (germline and/or somatic) high-grade epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer who are in response (complete or partial) following completion of first-line platinum-based chemotherapy.

FDA approves Beximco's generic version of MSD's allergy drug Periactin

Bangladesh-based Beximco Pharma is celebrating following the decision from the FDA to approve its generic version of MSD’s antihistamine therapy Periactin (Cyproheptadine).

The 4mg generic tablet formulation is approved in the same indications as its reference product, including the treatment of allergy symptoms such as hives, sneezing, and itchy or watery eyes or nose.

Beximco said that the total market in the US for the mediciation was around $16 million in 2018.

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