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MSD’s Keytruda impresses in lung cancer chemotherapy trial

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MSD’s Keytruda significantly improved overall survival (OS) compared to chemotherapy in people with lung cancer and PD-L1 expression, a trial has found.

In the Phase II/III KEYNOTE-010 trial, Keytruda (pembrolizumab), improved overall survival compared to chemotherapy with docetaxel. 

The study is the first study of its kind to evaluate the potential of an immunotherapy compared to chemotherapy that is based on the prospective measurement of PD-L1 expression in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), whose tumours expressed the PD-L1 gene.  

MSD UK appoints Jessica Fine as executive director of external affairs

Published on: 16/12/15

MSD has appointed former Lexington Health boss Jessica Fine to lead its external affairs team in the UK from April 2016, replacing Kate Tillett who retires early next year. 

Jessica will be joining MSD from the senior management team of Lexington Communications, where she held the role of head of Lexington Health.

MSD’s Keytruda shows promise in multiple myeloma

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MSD has announced that it has initiated two Phase III studies based in part on the strength of early data, which found Keytruda may be effective for people with multiple myeloma.

The combination of Keytruda (pembrolizumab) with Revlimid (lenalidomide) and low-dose dexamethasone achieved a response in three-quarters of multiple myeloma patients whose disease has progressed after at least two doses of prior therapy, in a Phase 1 study.

Sales up at MSD while Keytruda hits survival target in late-stage trial

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Worldwide sales at MSD were $10.1 billion in the third quarter of 2015, a 4% increase after accounting for the effects of foreign exchange and the US firm’s acquisitions and divestitures.

The sales were down 5% on the same period in 2014, when MSD earned $10.6bn in sales. However the company says that this includes “a 7% negative impact from foreign exchange and a 2% net unfavourable impact resulting from the divestiture of the consumer care business and select products, [and] partially offset by the acquisition of Cubist Pharmaceuticals.”

NICE issues draft guidance for MSD's Ezetrol


NICE has published draft guidance recommending MSD’s Ezetrol as an option for some adults with high cholesterol. 

The guidance updates the last document published in 2007, and recommends Ezetrol (ezetimibe) for people with primary (heterozygous-familial and non-familial) hypercholesterolaemia, when a statin is considered inappropriate or is not tolerated.

MSD’s Keytruda receives green light from NICE for NHS use

The UK healthcare watchdog NICE has recommended Keytruda as a treatment for advanced skin cancer – its second endorsement of the drug in a week.

 In final draft guidance, the Institute recommended Keytruda (pembrolizumab) as a first-line treatment for advanced skin cancer in patients who have not already had treatment with Bristol Myers Squibb’s Yervoy (ipilimumab). 

Merck and Wayra to tackle NHS funding gap with startup rewards programme

Merck Sharpe and Dohme (MSD) and Wayra Open Future, Telefonica's digital start up accelerator, are investing in digital innovation in healthcare to address the challenges outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View, with the launch of Velocity Health.

The pair have partnered to challenge the digital start-up community to create solutions that reimagine how healthcare can be delivered to help improve patient outcomes, in what is being billed as the UK’s first digital preventative healthcare accelerator programme.

David Khougazian announced as president of Sanofi Pasteur MSD

Published on: 29/07/15

Sanofi Pasteur and Merck have appointed David Khougazian as president of their joint company, Sanofi Pasteur MSD.

David Khougazian joined Sanofi Pasteur MSD in July and from September 1 will succeed Dr Jean-Paul Kress, who has led the company since July 2011. Kress will leave Sanofi Pasteur MSD to join the Sanofi group. 

David Khougazian is an engineer who holds an MBA. Since 2011 David has served as Sanofi chief of staff, working closely with the chief executive and the Sanofi executive committee in transforming the company and delivering on its development agenda.

Merck launches new antibiotic in the UK

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Merck has launched Sivextro in the UK

Merck has launched the first new drug in a class of antibiotics in the UK in almost 15 years, becoming one of the only big pharma firms to return to this high-priority disease area.

Sivextro (tedizolid phosphate) is the first oral treatment to be released in the oxazolidinone class of antibiotics since 2001. It is approved to treat acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSI).

These infections can often be caused by the MRSA superbug, which is a major factor in the growing problem of antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacteria.

Hospira launches biosimilar monoclonal antibody

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Merck’s Remicade patent is set to expire shortly so Hospira expects to be able to launch in the UK very shortly, a spokesman told Pharmafile

Hospira has won the race to become the first company to launch a biosimilar version of an anti-TNF biologic, after launching its copycat of infliximab in major European markets.

Inflectra (infliximab) is launched today in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden - countries where infliximab is now off-patent.

Merck’s Remicade patent is set to expire shortly, and so Hospira expects to be able to launch in the UK ‘in the next few days or weeks’, Paul Greenland, vice president of biologics at Hospira UK told Pharmafile.

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