Merck’s Pivotal Phase 3 C-EDGE Program Evaluating Grazoprevir/Elbasvir Shows High Sustained Virologic Responses Across Broad Range of Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection

Data Sets Include Treatment-Naïve, Treatment-Experienced and HIV Co-Infected Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Genotypes 1, 4 or 6 Infection

Merck Remains on Track to Submit New Drug Application (NDA) to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in First Half of 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015 1:00 am EDT

Dateline:

KENILWORTH, N.J.

Public Company Information:

NYSE:
MRK
"These findings are important because they demonstrate that a single pill of grazoprevir/elbasvir taken once-daily achieved consistently high rates of SVR12 in the patient populations studied."

KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced the first presentations of data from the company’s ongoing C-EDGE pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial program evaluating the investigational once-daily tablet grazoprevir/elbasvir (100mg/50mg) in patients with or without cirrhosis who are infected with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes 1, 4 or 6 (GT1, 4 or 6).1 Patients in both the HCV infected, treatment-naïve (C-EDGE TN), and HIV/HCV co-infected, treatment-naïve (C-EDGE CO-INFXN) trials treated for 12 weeks achieved rates of sustained virologic response 12 weeks after the completion of treatment (SVR12) of 95 percent (299/316 and 207/218, respectively). In addition, HCV infected, treatment-experienced patients (C-EDGE TE) treated with or without ribavirin (RBV) for 12 weeks achieved SVR12 rates of 94 percent (98/104) and 92 percent (97/105), respectively, and those treated for 16 weeks achieved SVR12 rates of 97 percent (103/106) and 92 percent (97/105), respectively. These data were presented at The International Liver CongressTM 2015 – the 50th annual congress of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (Abstract #G07, E-Poster P0886 and E-Poster P0887). A paper detailing the findings of C-EDGE TN was published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine today.

“Patients with co-morbidities and varying treatment experiences represent important segments of the chronic hepatitis C population in need of additional innovative treatment options,” said Dr. Eric Lawitz, vice president, scientific and research development, The Texas Liver Institute and clinical professor of medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio. “These findings are important because they demonstrate that a single pill of grazoprevir/elbasvir taken once-daily achieved consistently high rates of SVR12 in the patient populations studied.”

 
Summary of SVR12 findings: C-EDGE TN, C-EDGE CO-INFXN, C-EDGE TE
    C-EDGE
TN
  C-EDGE
CO-INFXN
  C-EDGE TE
  Without
RBV
(n=316)
  Without
RBV
(n=218)
  Without
RBV
(n=105)
  With
RBV
(n=104)
  Without
RBV
(n=105)
  With
RBV
(n=106)
Duration   12 weeks   12 weeks  

12 weeks

  12 weeks   16 weeks   16 weeks
All Patients: 95%   95%   92%   94%   92%   97%
SVR12   (299/316)   (207/218)   (97/105)   (98/104)   (97/105)   (103/106)
Cirrhotic 97% 100% 89% 89% 92% 100%
    (68/70)   (35/35)   (33/37)   (31/35)   (35/38)   (37/37)
Non-cirrhotic 94% 94% 94% 97% 93% 96%
    (231/246)   (172/183)   (64/68)   (67/69)   (62/67)   (66/69)
Genotype 1a 92% 94% 90% 93% 94% 95%
    (144/157)   (136/144)   (55/61)   (56/60)   (45/48)   (55/58)
Genotype 1b or
other Genotype 99% 96% 100% 97% 96% 100%
1   (129/131)   (43/45)   (35/35)   (28/29)   (46/48)   (38/38)
Genotype 4 100%

96%

78% 93% 60% 100%
    (18/18)  

(27/28)

  (7/9)   (14/15)   (3/5)   (8/8)
Genotype 6 80% 100% 75% 100%
    (8/10)   (1/1)   N/A   N/A   (3/4)   (2/2)
 

“At Merck, we continue to build upon our clinical experience using grazoprevir/elbasvir across diverse populations of patients infected with chronic hepatitis C virus,” said Dr. Eliav Barr, vice president, infectious diseases, Merck Research Laboratories. “We remain on track to submit a New Drug Application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the first half of 2015.”

C-EDGE TN Overview and Additional Findings

C-EDGE TN is a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of grazoprevir/elbasvir in treatment-naïve patients with or without cirrhosis infected with chronic HCV GT1, 4 or 6 who received therapy for 12 weeks. Patients were randomized to an immediate treatment group that received grazoprevir/elbasvir for 12 weeks or to a deferred treatment group that received placebo for 12 weeks, were followed for an additional four weeks, and then received open label grazoprevir/elbasvir for the next 12 weeks. The primary efficacy analysis included those patients who received immediate treatment with grazoprevir/elbasvir or placebo. Of the 316 patients who received immediate treatment with grazoprevir/elbasvir, 50 percent were infected with GT1a, 42 percent with GT1b, six percent with GT4 and three percent with GT6. Overall, 22 percent of patients had liver cirrhosis.

In this study, virologic failure occurred in 13 patients (4%) in the immediate treatment group, including one virologic breakthrough and 12 virologic relapses. Serious adverse events occurred in nine (3%) and three (3%) patients in the immediate treatment and corresponding placebo arms, respectively; none were considered drug-related. The most common adverse events reported (greater than 5% incidence) in the immediate treatment and corresponding placebo groups, were headache (17%, 18%), fatigue (16%, 17%), nausea (9%, 8%) and arthralgia (6%, 6%), respectively.

C-EDGE CO-INFXN Overview and Additional Findings

C-EDGE CO-INFXN is an open label, single-arm study evaluating the efficacy and safety of grazoprevir/elbasvir in treatment-naïve patients with or without cirrhosis infected with chronic HCV GT1, 4 or 6 and HIV who received therapy for 12 weeks. Of the 218 patients enrolled in the trial, 66 percent were infected with HCV GT1a, 21 percent with GT1b or other GT1, 13 percent with GT4, and one percent with GT6. Overall, 16 percent of patients had liver cirrhosis.

In this study, virologic failure occurred in seven patients (3%), including six virologic relapses and one reinfection. There were no reported drug-related serious adverse events. The most common (greater than 5% incidence) adverse events reported were fatigue (13%), headache (12%) and nausea (9%).

C-EDGE TE Overview and Additional Findings

C-EDGE TE is a randomized study evaluating the efficacy and safety of once-daily grazoprevir/elbasvir with or without twice-daily RBV in treatment-experienced (prior null response, partial response or relapse with peg-interferon/RBV) patients with or without cirrhosis infected with chronic HCV GT1, 4 or 6 who received therapy for 12 weeks or 16 weeks.

12 week arms

Of the 209 patients randomized to the 12 week arms, 105 patients received grazoprevir/elbasvir only and 104 patients received grazoprevir/elbasvir plus RBV. Patients in the grazoprevir/elbasvir only arm comprised 58 percent GT1a, 33 percent GT1b or other GT1 and nine percent GT4. Overall, 35 percent had liver cirrhosis. Among the 104 patients receiving grazoprevir/elbasvir plus RBV, 58 percent were infected with chronic HCV GT1a, 28 percent GT1b or other GT1, and 14 percent GT4. Overall, 34 percent had liver cirrhosis.

In the grazoprevir/elbasvir only and grazoprevir/elbasvir plus RBV arms, six patients in each arm (6%) were reported to have virologic relapse. No patients were reported to have virologic breakthrough or rebound. Serious adverse events were reported in four patients in the grazoprevir/elbasvir only arm (4%) and three patients in the grazoprevir/elbasvir plus RBV arm (3%). The most common (greater than 10% incidence) adverse events reported in the grazoprevir/elbasvir and grazoprevir/elbasvir plus RBV arms, respectively, were fatigue (19%, 27%), headache (21%, 20%) and nausea (9%, 14%).

16 week arms

Of the 211 patients enrolled in the 16 week arms, 105 patients received grazoprevir/elbasvir only and 106 patients received grazoprevir/elbasvir plus RBV. In the grazoprevir/elbasvir only arm, 46 percent were infected with chronic HCV GT1a, 46 percent with GT1b or other GT1, five percent with GT4 and four percent with GT6. Overall, 36 percent of patients had liver cirrhosis. Among those in the grazoprevir/elbasvir plus RBV arm, 55 percent were infected with chronic HCV GT1a, 36 percent with GT1b or other GT1, eight percent with GT4, and two percent with GT6. Overall, 35 percent had liver cirrhosis.

Among the patients receiving grazoprevir/elbasvir only, three patients (3%) were reported to have virologic breakthrough or rebound and four patients (4%) were reported to have virologic relapse. No virologic failures occurred in patients receiving grazoprevir/elbasvir plus RBV. Serious adverse events were reported in three patients in the grazoprevir/elbasvir only arm (3%) and four patients in the grazoprevir/elbasvir plus RBV arm (4%). The most common (greater than 10% incidence) adverse events reported in the grazoprevir/elbasvir and grazoprevir/elbasvir plus RBV arms, respectively, were fatigue (16%, 30%), headache (19%, 19%) and nausea (4%,17%).

About the C-EDGE Program

C-EDGE is the Phase 3 clinical development program for Merck’s investigational HCV treatment grazoprevir/elbasvir comprising five studies with more than 1,700 patients across more than 25 countries. These studies are evaluating grazoprevir/elbasvir in multiple genotypes (GT1, 4 and 6) and diverse patient populations, including difficult-to-treat patients such as: treatment-experienced, patients with cirrhosis, HIV/HCV co-infection, advanced chronic kidney disease, inherited blood disorders, and those receiving opiate substitution therapies.

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 health care 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. 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.

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).

1 Grazoprevir is an HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitor and elbasvir is an HCV NS5A replication complex inhibitor

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