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The March 2017 issue of Pharmafocus is now live!

The latest edition of Pharmafocus is available to read online now! From breakthroughs in antibiotic resistance R&D to gene editing in precision medicine, its a packed issue.

MSD’s Alzheimer’s drug failure undermines potential treatment pathway

MSD, known as Merck in North America, has announced that it has been forced to cancel a Phase 2/3 trial studying the potential therapeutic effects of verubecestat in Alzheimer’s patients. The failure of the drug to show efficacy draws into question how amyloid plaques are being targeted and whether this is now a viable target for treatment.

MSD aims to get the jump on BMS treating bladder cancer

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo was only just approved for second-line treatment of bladder cancer, but MSD has attempted to have its own drug, Keytruda, leapfrog them with by having it accepted for priority review in both first and second-line treatments.

FDA clears Opdivo to treat most common form of bladder cancer

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo has acquired another indication – being given the go-ahead for treatment of patients with metastatic urothelial carcinoma. The drug will be administered through intravenous injection for 60 minutes every two weeks.

The treatment will be offered to patients who have experienced disease progression during or following platinum-coated chemotherapy or have disease progression within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.

MSD’s drug given European approval for first-line treatment in NSCLC

The good news keeps coming for MSD, known as Merck in North America, and Keytruda, with a further label expansion across all 28 EU member states. Keytruda will now be able to be used in first-line treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in adults whose tumours have high PD-L1 expression.

MSD puts best foot forward in drug pricing debate

MSD, known as Merck in North America, has taken a pre-emptive step in the drug pricing debate by releasing its list price changes to the public. The move towards greater transparency on pricing is one of various methods that pharmaceutical companies are using to deflect criticism away as the debate over pricing begins to get particularly acute.

BMS receives $625 million patent settlement boost from Merck

Bristol-Myers Squibb were in desperate need of releasing good news after the brief announcement that it would no longer be pursuing an accelerated regulatory pathway for Opdivo with Yervoy, and it revealed some with the news that it had reached a patent infringement settlement with MSD (known as Merck in North America).

22 pharma companies join forces for global non-communicable disease initiative

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Switzerland has seen the launch of Access Accelerated, a global initiative consisting of over 20 partners including Pfizer, GSK, J&J, Roche, Novartis and more to improve access to preventative measures against non-communicable disease (NCD) in low and lower-middle income countries, the site of almost 80% of NCD-related deaths.

MSD and Lilly announce immuno-oncology collaboration

MSD, known as Merck in North America, and Eli Lilly have announced the expansion of their existing immuno-oncology collaboration. The expansion will see MSD’s Keytruda tested alongside Lilly’s Lartruvo (olaratumab) to treat patients with previously treated advanced or metastatic soft tissue sarcoma.

MSD looks to jump the gun with combination immunotherapy application

MSD, known as Merck in North America, has launched a bold move by filing Keytruda, and being accepted, for Priority Review as combination treatment alongside chemotherapy. The move has taken the industry by surprise, as MSD had not been expected to apply so quickly and, if approved, would have a head start on competitors also working on their own combination therapies.

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