Grazoprevir/Elbasvir, Merck’s Investigational Chronic Hepatitis C Therapy, Granted FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designations; New Phase 2 and 3 Data in Multiple HCV Patient Types to be Presented at The International Liver CongressTM 2015

Congress Highlights Include Results from Trials in a Wide Range of HCV Patients -- Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease, HIV Co-infection, Cirrhosis, and Prior Treatment Failures

Company Remains on Track for NDA Filing with the U.S. FDA During First Half of 2015

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 7:00 am EDT

Dateline:

KENILWORTH, N.J.

Public Company Information:

NYSE:
MRK
"HCV remains a global public health epidemic. At Merck, we are focused on the development of an efficacious, well-tolerated, once-daily therapy that can be used to treat multiple genotypes and a diverse population of chronic HCV patients"

KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, today announced that grazoprevir/elbasvir, an investigational single tablet regimen for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, has received two new Breakthrough Therapy designations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with chronic HCV genotype 4 (GT4) infection, and for the treatment of chronic HCV genotype 1 (GT1) infection in patients with end stage renal disease on hemodialysis. Additionally, the company announced presentations from the broad grazoprevir/elbasvir development program at the upcoming International Liver Congress™. A total of 14 abstracts from studies evaluating grazoprevir/elbasvir are scheduled to be presented, including three from the company’s ongoing Phase 3 pivotal C-EDGE program, one from the pivotal Phase 2b/3 C-SURFER study, and seven from ongoing or completed Phase 2 studies. The range of data to be presented underscores the company’s ongoing commitment to developing an all-oral regimen with wide application across diverse patient populations. The International Liver Congress™ 2015 – the 50th annual congress of the European Association for the Study of the Liver – is scheduled to take place at the Reed Messe Convention Center, Vienna, Austria, from April 22 – 26, 2015.

“HCV remains a global public health epidemic. At Merck, we are focused on the development of an efficacious, well-tolerated, once-daily therapy that can be used to treat multiple genotypes and a diverse population of chronic HCV patients,” said Dr. Eliav Barr, vice president, infectious diseases, Merck Research Laboratories. “Our clinical program is among the largest and most comprehensive, with studies dedicated to patient populations where significant unmet medical need still exists, such as prior treatment failures, as well as those living with co-morbid conditions, including HIV infection, chronic kidney disease and individuals on opiate substitution therapy.”

In October 2013, the FDA granted Breakthrough Therapy designation for grazoprevir/elbasvir for the treatment of patients with chronic HCV genotype 1 (GT1). In January 2015, the FDA notified Merck of its intention to rescind that Breakthrough Therapy designation. The FDA has now granted two new Breakthrough Therapy designations for grazoprevir/elbasvir; the designations are now for the treatment of patients infected with chronic HCV GT1 with end stage renal disease on hemodialysis, and patients infected with chronic HCV genotype 4 (GT4). Breakthrough Therapy designation is intended to expedite the development and review of a candidate that is planned for use, alone or in combination, to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition when preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints.

At The International Liver Congress 2015™, key data presentations will include:

  • Primary results from the C-EDGEprogram, Phase 3 clinical trials evaluating grazoprevir/elbasvir (with and without ribavirin) across multiple HCV genotypes (1, 4 and 6) and diverse patient populations, including those difficult to treat, over a 12-week treatment duration
    • C-EDGE TN in treatment-naïve patients; Oral presentation, General Session 2 & Award 1, Abstract #G07, Friday, April 24, 8:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. CEST
    • C-EDGE CO-INFXN in patients with HCV/HIV co-infection; E-poster #P0887, Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 a.m. CEST until Saturday, April 25 at 8:00 p.m. CEST
    • C-EDGE TE in treatment-experienced (prior peg-interferon/ribavirin treatment failures); E-poster #P0886, Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 a.m. CEST until Saturday, April 25 at 8:00 p.m. CEST
  • First results from C-SURFER, a Phase 2b/3 clinical trial evaluating grazoprevir/elbasvir (without ribavirin) in treatment-naïve and treatment-experienced patients with HCV genotype 1 infection and advanced chronic kidney disease
    • Late-breaking E-poster #LP02, Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 a.m. CEST until Saturday, April 25 at 8:00 p.m. CEST
  • Results from C-SALVAGE, a Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating grazoprevir/elbasvir (with and without ribavirin) for chronic HCV in genotype 1 infection after failure of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy, including boceprevir, telaprevir, or simeprevir
    • Oral presentation, Viral Hepatitis C Therapy session, Abstract #O001, Thursday, April 23, 4:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. CEST
  • Results from C-SWIFT, a Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating shorter treatment durations (4, 6, 8 and 12 weeks) of grazoprevir/elbasvir plus sofosbuvir in treatment-naïve, treatment-experienced/prior treatment failure/null-response, cirrhotic and non-cirrhotic patients with genotype 1 or 3 infection
    • Oral presentation, Viral Hepatitis C Therapy session, Abstract #O006, Thursday, April 23, 5:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. CEST
  • Phase 2 efficacy and safety results from the C-SALTclinical trial, evaluating grazoprevir/elbasvir in genotype 1 infected patients with Child-Pugh class B cirrhosis
    • Oral presentation, Viral Hepatitis C Therapy session, Abstract #O008, Thursday, April 23, 5:45 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. CEST
  • Results from C-WORTHy, a Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating treatment with grazoprevir/elbasvir (with or without ribavirin) in genotype 1 and 3 infection, and in a variety of patient sub-populations including treatment-naïve, treatment-experienced, cirrhotic, non-cirrhotic, and HIV/HCV co-infected
    • C-WORTHy Part C in treatment-naïve, non-cirrhotic patients with genotype 1b infection; E-poster #P0769, Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 a.m. CEST until Saturday, April 25 at 8:00 p.m. CEST
    • C-WORTHy Part D in treatment-naïve patients with genotype 3 infection treated with ribavirin; E-poster #P0776, Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 a.m. CEST until Saturday, April 25 at 8:00 p.m. CEST
    • C-WORTHy resistance analysis of virologic failures in hepatitis C genotype 1 infected patients; E-poster #P0891, Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 a.m. CEST until Saturday, April 25 at 8:00 p.m. CEST
  • Results from C-SCAPE, a Phase 2 trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of 12 weeks of grazoprevir/elbasvir (with or without ribavirin) in patients with genotype 2, 4, 5 or 6 infection
    • E-poster #P0771, Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 a.m. CEST until Saturday, April 25 at 8:00 p.m. CEST
  • Results from a Phase 1 study to evaluate the interaction of novel nucleotide inhibitor MK-3682 (formerly IDX21437), with grazoprevir and NS5A inhibitor MK-8408 in healthy subjects
    • E-poster #P0824, Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 a.m. CEST until Saturday, April 25 at 8:00 p.m. CEST

About Grazoprevir/Elbasvir

Grazoprevir/elbasvir is an investigational, once-daily single tablet regimen consisting of grazoprevir (NS3/4A protease inhibitor) and elbasvir (NS5A replication complex inhibitor). As part of Merck’s broad clinical trials program, grazoprevir/elbasvir is being studied in multiple HCV genotypes and in patients with difficult-to-treat conditions such as HIV/HCV co-infection, advanced chronic kidney disease, inherited blood disorders, cirrhosis and those on opiate substitution therapy.

Merck’s Commitment to HCV

For nearly 30 years, Merck has been at the forefront of the response to the HCV epidemic. Merck employees are dedicated to applying their scientific expertise, resources and global reach to deliver innovative healthcare solutions that support people living with HCV worldwide.

About Merck

Today’s Merck is a global health care leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. 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. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Forward-Looking Statement

This news release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements may include, but are not limited to, Merck’s ability to complete the offering and Merck’s expectations for the use of proceeds from the offering. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. There can be no guarantees with respect to pipeline products that the products will receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that they will prove to be commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; Merck’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions; and timing of the offering.

Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise except as required by applicable law. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Merck’s 2014 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (www.sec.gov).

 

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