Eisai And Merck & Co Supercharge Lenvima's Potential
A global collaboration potentially valued at nearly $6bn will see Eisai's oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor lenvatinib being evaluated in combination with Keytruda in multiple cancer types and indications.
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Adjuvant renal cell carcinoma is a potentially lucrative indication for any checkpoint inhibitor; Merck & Co. flagship Keytruda is the first to demonstrate benefit in a Phase III study, although rivals are in pursuit.
Merck’s PD-1 inhibitor combined with Lenvima offered benefit in RCC, but use with Bristol’s Yervoy in metastatic NSCLC showed no benefit compared to Keytruda monotherapy.
The company will depend on Keytruda for growth after spinning out some franchises, but executives argued during its Q4 earnings call that there will be much more to Merck than the cancer blockbuster.