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Merck's (MRK) Keytruda Combo Meets Goal in Kidney Cancer Study

Merck MRK  and partner Eisai ESALY announced positive top-line data from a pivotal phase III study evaluating a combination of Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, Keytruda,plus Eisai’s multiple receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor Lenvima for the first-line treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC),a kind of kidney cancer.

Shares of the company have decreased 8.7% year to date against the industry’s 3.4% growth.

The results from the KEYNOTE-581/CLEAR (Study 307)  study showedthat Keytruda plus Lenvima demonstrated statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS) and objective response rate (ORR) versus Pfizer’s PFE RCC drug, Sutent (sunitinib), in the intention-to-treat (ITT) study population.

Additionally, Lenvimaplus everolimus met the study’s primary endpoint of PFS and a key secondary endpoint of ORR, demonstrating a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in both metrics versus the sunitinib combination in the ITT study population.

Merck and Eisai plan to submit marketing authorization applications based on these results and thus, the companies will discuss these data with regulatory authorities worldwide.

The companies are also continuing to study the Keytruda plus Lenvima combination through the LEAP (LEnvatinib and Pembrolizumab) clinical program across 19 studies in 13 different tumor types.

Keytruda is already approved for use in 30 indications across several different tumor types in the United States.

Zacks Rank and A Stocks to Consider

Merck currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A better-ranked stock in the biotech sector is BioLineRx Ltd, BLRX, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

BioLineRx’s loss per share estimates have narrowed from $1.95 to $1.67 for 2020 and from $1.44 to $1.36 for 2021 in the past 60 days. Shares of the company have increased 7.1% year to date.


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Pfizer Inc. (PFE): Free Stock Analysis Report
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Eisai Co. (ESALY): Free Stock Analysis Report
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