WILMINGTON, Del. and KENILWORTH, N.J. – April 6, 2018 –Incyte Corporation (Nasdaq:INCY) and Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that an external Data Monitoring Committee (eDMC) review of the pivotal Phase 3 ECHO-301/KEYNOTE-252 study results evaluating Incyte’s epacadostat in combination with Merck’s KEYTRUDA® in patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma determined that the study did not meet the primary endpoint of improving progression-free survival in the overall population compared to KEYTRUDA monotherapy. The study’s second primary endpoint of overall survival also is not expected to reach statistical significance. Based on these results, and at the recommendation of the eDMC, the study will be stopped. The safety profile observed in ECHO-301/KEYNOTE-252 was consistent with that observed in previously reported studies of epacadostat in combination with KEYTRUDA.
Incyte and Merck will inform investigators of the results and work with investigators to appropriately conclude the study in a manner consistent with the best interests of each patient. Data from this study will be analyzed and submitted for presentation at an upcoming scientific congress.
“While we are disappointed that this study did not confirm the efficacy of epacadostat in combination with KEYTRUDA in patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma, data from ECHO-301/KEYNOTE-252, including analyses of an extensive biomarker panel, will contribute to our understanding of the role of IDO1 inhibition in combination with PD-1 antagonists, and may inform our broader epacadostat clinical development program,” said Steven Stein, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Incyte. “We remain dedicated to transforming the treatment of cancer and will continue to explore how IDO1 inhibition and other novel mechanisms can potentially improve outcomes for patients in need.”
”We look forward to sharing the comprehensive data analysis from ECHO-301/KEYNOTE-252 with the scientific community at an upcoming medical meeting,” said Roy Baynes, M.D., PhD., Senior Vice President and Head of Global Clinical Development, Chief Medical Officer, Merck Research Laboratories. “We thank the patients and their caregivers who participated in the ECHO-301/KEYNOTE-252 study.”
This Phase 3 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study is evaluating KEYTRUDA in combination with epacadostat or placebo in patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma. ECHO-301/KEYNOTE-252 enrolled over 700 patients, randomized 1:1, and stratified by tumor PD-L1 expression (positive versus negative/indeterminate) and BRAF mutation status (BRAF mutant who have received prior BRAF-directed treatment, BRAF mutant with no prior BRAF-directed treatment and BRAF wild-type).
The dual primary endpoints of the study are progression-free survival and overall survival. Key secondary endpoints include objective response rate, safety and tolerability.
ECHO-301/KEYNOTE-252 is co-sponsored by Incyte and Merck. For more information about the study, please visit https://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT02752074.
About Epacadostat (INCB024360)
The immunosuppressive effects of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) enzyme activity on the tumor microenvironment help cancer cells evade immunosurveillance. Epacadostat is an investigational, highly potent and selective oral inhibitor of the IDO1 enzyme. In clinical studies, the combination of epacadostat and immune checkpoint inhibitors has shown proof-of-concept in patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, renal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck and bladder cancer. In these studies, epacadostat combined with the CTLA-4 inhibitor ipilimumab or the PD-1 inhibitors KEYTRUDA or nivolumab improved response rates compared with studies of the immune checkpoint inhibitors alone.
About KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Injection 100mg
KEYTRUDA is an anti-PD-1 therapy that works by increasing the ability of the body’s immune system to help detect and fight tumor cells. KEYTRUDA is a humanized monoclonal antibody that blocks the interaction between PD-1 and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, thereby activating T lymphocytes which may affect both tumor cells and healthy cells.
Merck has the industry’s largest immuno-oncology clinical research program, which currently involves more than 700 trials studying KEYTRUDA across a wide variety of cancers and treatment settings. The KEYTRUDA clinical program seeks to understand the role of KEYTRUDA across cancers and the factors that may predict a patient’s likelihood of benefitting from treatment with KEYTRUDA, including exploring several different biomarkers.
Incyte Corporation is a Wilmington, Delaware-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of proprietary therapeutics. For additional information on Incyte, please visit the Company’s website at www.incyte.com.
For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world – including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola.