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US FDA approves KEYTRUDA from Merck for adults with relapsed or refractory cHL

KEYTRUDA is the first anti-PD-1 therapy approved for adult patients with relapsed or refractory cHL after frontline therapy

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Merck, known as MSD outside the US and Canada, announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an expanded label for KEYTRUDA, Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, as monotherapy for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL).

The approval is based on results from the Phase 3 KEYNOTE-204 trial in which KEYTRUDA significantly reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 35 per cent (HR=0.65 [95% CI, 0.48-0.88; p<0.0027]) compared to brentuximab vedotin (BV). Additionally, median progression-free survival (PFS) was 13.2 months (95% CI, 10.9-19.4) for patients treated with KEYTRUDA and 8.3 months (95% CI, 5.7-8.8) for patients treated with BV. The FDA also approved an updated paediatric indication for KEYTRUDA for the treatment of paediatric patients with refractory cHL, or cHL that has relapsed after two or more lines of therapy.

KEYTRUDA was previously approved under the FDA’s accelerated approval process for the treatment of adult and paediatric patients with refractory cHL, or who have relapsed after three or more prior lines of therapy based on data from the KEYNOTE-087 trial. In accordance with accelerated approval regulations, continued approval was contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit; these accelerated approval requirements have been fulfilled with the data from KEYNOTE-204.

This approval was reviewed under the FDA’s Project Orbis, an initiative of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence that provides a framework for concurrent submission and review of oncology drugs among its international partners. For this application, a modified Project Orbis was undertaken, and the FDA is collaborating with the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration and Health Canada on their ongoing review of the application.

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