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Merck and Pfizer to Present Avelumab Data in Seven Different Cancers at ASCO Annual Meeting

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Merck and Pfizer today announced that avelumab* presentations across seven different tumor types, including two oral presentations, will be featured at the 52nd American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting being held June 3–7, 2016, in Chicago, IL. The avelumab presentations, from the rapidly accelerating JAVELIN clinical development program, include new study results from a number of difficult-to-treat cancers, including data from the pivotal Phase II trial of avelumab being investigated as second-line treatment for metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). Additional data include highlights from mesothelioma, adrenocortical carcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and urothelial bladder, gastric and ovarian cancers, as well as updated safety data.

“One of our key highlights for ASCO will be the new avelumab data in second-line metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma,” said Luciano Rossetti, M.D., Executive Vice President, Global Head of Research & Development at the biopharma business of Merck. “As there are currently no approved treatments for this rare and aggressive cancer, these clinically meaningful data represent a breakthrough for this difficult-to-treat tumor type.”

Since ASCO 2015, the collaboration between Merck and Pfizer has made significant progress. The JAVELIN development program for avelumab now includes 30 ongoing clinical programs and nine pivotal studies. As of May 2016, JAVELIN now includes approximately 2,200 patients, being treated across more than 15 tumor types.

"These data add to the growing body of evidence for avelumab, indicating efficacy and a favorable safety profile in multiple cancers, which supports ongoing development,” said Chris Boshoff, M.D., PhD., Vice President and Head of Early Development, Translational and Immuno-Oncology at Pfizer Oncology. “Through our comprehensive JAVELIN clinical development program for avelumab, we are making meaningful advances for a broad range of patients with cancer.”

Avelumab is an investigational, fully human antibody specific for a protein found on tumor cells called PD-L1, or programmed death ligand. As a checkpoint inhibitor, avelumab is thought to have a dual mechanism of action which is believed to enable the immune system to find and attack cancer cells. By binding to PD-L1, avelumab is thought to prevent tumor cells from using PD-L1 for protection against white blood cells such as T-cells, exposing them to anti-tumor responses. Avelumab is also thought to help white blood cells such as natural killer (NK) cells find and attack tumors in a process known as ADCC, or antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity.

A list of accepted avelumab abstracts is included below. The abstracts are also available on the ASCO website.

       
Title   Lead Author   Abstract ID / Poster No.   Presentation Date / Time   Session
Oral Presentations                
Mesothelioma

Avelumab (MSB0010718C; anti-PD-L1) in patients with advanced unresectable mesothelioma from the JAVELIN Solid Tumor Phase Ib trial: safety, clinical activity, and PD-L1 expression

  Hassan R   Abstract ID: 8503   Sunday, June 5

8:00 a.m. CDT

Arie Crown Theater

  Lung Cancer – Metastatic Disease
Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Avelumab (MSB0010718C; anti-PD-L1) in patients with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma previously treated with chemotherapy: results of the Phase II JAVELIN Merkel 200 trial

  Kaufman H   Abstract ID: 9508   Monday, June 6

1:15 p.m. CDT

Arie Crown Theater

  Melanoma/Skin Cancers
Poster Discussions                
Gastric/Gastro-esophageal Junction Cancer

Avelumab (MSB0010718C; anti-PD-L1) in patients with advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction cancer from the JAVELIN Solid Tumor Phase Ib trial: analysis of safety, clinical activity

  Chung HC   Abstract ID: 4009

Poster No.: 1

  Saturday, June 4

8:00 a.m. CDT

Hall A

  Gastrointestinal (Noncolorectal) Cancer
Urothelial Carcinoma

Avelumab (MSB0010718C; anti-PD-L1) in patients with metastatic urothelial carcinoma from the JAVELIN Solid Tumor Phase Ib trial: analysis of safety, clinical activity, and PD-L1 expression

  Apolo A   Abstract ID: 4514

Poster No.: 137

  Monday, June 6

1:00 p.m. CDT

Hall A

  Genitourinary (Nonprostate) Cancer
Adrenocortical Carcinoma

Avelumab (MSB0010718C; anti-PD-L1) in patients with advanced adrenocortical carcinoma from the JAVELIN Solid Tumor Phase Ib trial: safety and clinical activity

  Le Tourneau C   Abstract ID: 4516

Poster No.: 138

  Monday, June 6

1:00 p.m. CDT

Hall A

  Genitourinary (Nonprostate) Cancer
Poster Presentations                
NSCLC

Avelumab (MSB0010718C; anti-PD-L1) as a first-line treatment for patients with advanced NSCLC from the JAVELIN Solid Tumor Phase Ib trial: safety, clinical activity, and PD-L1 expression

  Verschraegen C   Abstract ID: 9036

Poster No.: 359

  Saturday, June 4

8:00 a.m. CDT

Hall A

  Lung Cancer – Non-Small Cell Metastatic
Gastric Cancer

Maintenance therapy with avelumab (MSB0010718C; anti-PD-L1) vs continuation of first-line chemotherapy in patients with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic gastric cancer: the Phase III JAVELIN Gastric 100 trial

  Moehler M   Abstract ID: TPS4134

Poster No.: 124b

  Saturday, June 4

8:00 a.m. CDT

Hall A

  Gastrointestinal (Noncolorectal) Cancer
Gastric Cancer

Avelumab (MSB0010718C; anti-PD-L1) + best supportive care (BSC) vs BSC ± chemotherapy as third-line treatment for patients with unresectable, recurrent, or metastatic gastric cancer: the Phase III JAVELIN Gastric 300 trial

  Bang Y-J   Abstract ID: TPS4135

Poster No.: 125a

  Saturday, June 4

8:00 a.m. CDT

Hall A

  Gastrointestinal (Noncolorectal) Cancer
NSCLC

Avelumab (MSB0010718C; anti-PD-L1) vs platinum-based doublet as first-line treatment for metastatic or recurrent PD-L1–positive non-small-cell lung cancer: the Phase III JAVELIN Lung 100 trial

  Reck M   Abstract ID: TPS9105

Poster No.: 425a

  Saturday, June 4

8:00 a.m. CDT

Hall A

  Lung Cancer—Non‐Small Cell Metastatic
Advanced Cancer

Avelumab (MSB0010718C; anti-PD-L1) in patients with advanced cancer: safety data from 1300 patients enrolled in the Phase Ib JAVELIN Solid Tumor trial

  Kelly K   Abstract ID: 3055

Poster No.: 377

  Sunday, June 5

8:00 a.m. CDT

Hall A

  Developmental Therapeutics— Immunotherapy
Advanced Malignancies

Avelumab (MSB0010718C; anti-PD-L1) in combination with other cancer immunotherapies in patients with advanced malignancies: the Phase Ib/II JAVELIN Medley study

  Ribas A   Abstract ID: TPS3106

Poster No.: 422b

  Sunday, June 5

8:00 a.m. CDT

Hall A

  Developmental Therapeutics—Immunotherapy
Ovarian Cancer

Avelumab (MSB0010718C; anti-PD-L1) in patients with recurrent/refractory ovarian cancer from the JAVELIN Solid Tumor Phase Ib trial: safety and clinical activity

  Disis ML   Abstract ID: 5533

Poster No.: 356

  Monday, June 6

1:00 p.m. CDT

Hall A

  Gynecologic Cancer
Ovarian Cancer

Avelumab (MSB0010718C; anti-PD-L1) ± pegylated liposomal doxorubicin vs pegylated liposomal doxorubicin alone in patients with platinum-resistant/refractory ovarian cancer: the Phase III JAVELIN Ovarian 200 trial

  Pujade Lauraine E   Abstract ID: TPS5600

Poster No.: 421b

  Monday, June 6

1:00 p.m. CDT

Hall A

  Gynecologic Cancer
Renal Cell Carcinoma

Avelumab (MSB0010718C; anti-PD-L1) in combination with axitinib as first-line treatment for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma

  Larkin J   Abstract ID: TPS4580

Poster No.: 199a

  Monday, June 6

1:00 p.m. CDT

Hall A

  Genitourinary (Nonprostate) Cancer
 

*Avelumab is the proposed nonproprietary name for the anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody (MSB0010718C). Avelumab is under clinical investigation and has not been proven to be safe and effective. There is no guarantee any product will be approved in the sought-after indication by any health authority worldwide.

About Avelumab

Avelumab (also known as MSB0010718C) is an investigational, fully human anti-PD-L1 IgG1 monoclonal antibody. By inhibiting PD-L1 interactions, avelumab is thought to enable the activation of T-cells and the adaptive immune system. By retaining a native Fc-region, avelumab is thought to potentially engage the innate immune system and induce antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). In November 2014, Merck and Pfizer announced a strategic alliance to co-develop and co-commercialize avelumab.

About Merck-Pfizer Alliance

Immuno-oncology is a top priority for Merck and Pfizer. The global strategic alliance between Merck and Pfizer enables the companies to benefit from each other’s strengths and capabilities and further explore the therapeutic potential of avelumab, an investigational anti-PD-L1 antibody initially discovered and developed by Merck. The immuno-oncology alliance will jointly develop and commercialize avelumab and advance Pfizer’s PD-1 antibody. The alliance is focused on developing high-priority international clinical programs to investigate avelumab, as a monotherapy, as well as combination regimens, and is striving to find new ways to treat cancer.

Pfizer Inc.: Working together for a healthier world ®

At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of healthcare products. Our global portfolio includes medicines and vaccines, as well as many of the world's best-known consumer healthcare products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. To learn more, please visit us at www.pfizer.com. In addition, to learn more, follow us on Twitter at @Pfizer and @Pfizer_News, LinkedIn, and like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Pfizer.

All Merck Press Releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Website. Please go to www.merckgroup.com/subscribe to register online, change your selection or discontinue this service.

About Merck

Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2015, Merck generated sales of € 12.85 billion in 66 countries.

Founded in 1668, Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

Pfizer Disclosure Notice

The information contained in this release is as of May 18, 2016. Pfizer assumes no obligation to update forward-looking statements contained in this release as the result of new information or future events or developments.

This release contains forward-looking information about avelumab (MSB0010718C), the potential of immuno-oncology, Pfizer’s and Merck’s immuno-oncology alliance involving anti-PD-L1 and anti-PD-1 therapies, and clinical development plans, including their potential benefits, that involves substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Risks and uncertainties include, among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, including the ability to meet anticipated clinical study commencement and completion dates as well as the possibility of unfavorable study results; risks associated with interim data; the risk that clinical trial data are subject to differing interpretations, and, even when we view data as sufficient to support the safety and/or effectiveness of a product candidate, regulatory authorities may not share our views and may require additional data or may deny approval altogether; whether and when drug applications may be filed in any jurisdictions for any potential indications for avelumab, combination therapies or other product candidates; whether and when any such applications may be approved by regulatory authorities, which will depend on the assessment by such regulatory authorities of the benefit-risk profile suggested by the totality of the efficacy and safety information submitted; decisions by regulatory authorities regarding labeling and other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of avelumab, combination therapies or other product candidates; and competitive developments.

A further description of risks and uncertainties can be found in Pfizer’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015, and in its subsequent reports on Form 10-Q, including in the sections thereof captioned “Risk Factors” and “Forward-Looking Information and Factors That May Affect Future Results”, as well as in its subsequent reports on Form 8-K, all of which are filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and available at www.sec.gov and www.pfizer.com .

Contact information

Merck
Media:
Gangolf Schrimpf, +49 6151 72 9591
or
Investor Relations:
+49 6151 72 3321
or
Pfizer
Media:
Sally Beatty, +1-212-733-6566
or
Investor Relations:
Ryan Crowe, +1-212-733-8160

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