Merck Is Finding PD-L1 Testing Is Helping Keytruda
Merck & Co. Inc. is heartened by market data showing about 70% of lung cancer patients who test positive for the PD-L1 biomarker are placed on Keytruda therapy, which could turn into an advantage as the PD-1 inhibitors move into the first-line setting.
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Failure of Bristol's Opdivo in patients with lower expression of PD-L-1 biomarker gives Merck's Keytruda a huge advantage in first-line lung cancer, and leaves market-leading Bristol to wait for combination data.
Merck reports $314m for PD-1 inhibitor Keytruda in second quarter, mostly from melanoma indication, leaving it far behind Bristol's Opdivo. Pressed about its competitive strategy, company execs touted first-to-market advantage in first-line lung cancer and a "wall of data" that will protect in the future.
Bristol stresses comprehensive approach to lung cancer – its top priority – with trials from early to late stages, a thoughtful biomarker development program and a pipeline stocked with drugs that have a wide range of targets.