Merck to Present New Data on VICTRELIS® (boceprevir) and Investigational Compounds MK-5172 and Vaniprevir for Chronic Hepatitis C Virus at The International Liver CongressTM / 2013 EASL Annual Meeting

Monday, April 8, 2013 10:37 am EDT

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WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.

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MRK
"We are pleased to present new data on VICTRELIS that will help inform health care professionals as they consider the use of VICTRELIS in appropriate patients"
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, announced today that two analyses of VICTRELIS (boceprevir) and data from Phase II studies of two of Merck’s investigational medicines for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1, MK-5172 and vaniprevir (MK-7009), will be presented at the 2013 International Liver Congress (EASL) Annual Meeting. The meeting will take place in Amsterdam from April 24-28, 2013.

Key Presentations About VICTRELIS 200 mg Capsules

  • Safety And Efficacy Of Boceprevir/Peginterferon/Ribavirin (Boc/P/R) Combination Therapy For Chronic HCV G1 Patients With Compensated Cirrhosis: A Meta-Analysis Of Five Phase III Clinical Trials, J.M. Vierling et al. Late Breaker. Thursday, April 25, 9:00- 18:00. RAI Convention Centre.
  • Virologic Response Rates Are Similar In Previously Untreated And Previously Treated And Relapsed Patients Receiving Boceprevir Triple Therapy: A Retrospective Analysis. Bacon, B. et al. Poster 791. Friday, April 26, 12:30-14:00. RAI Convention Centre.

Key Investigational Compound Presentations

  • High Sustained Viral Response at 12- and 24-week follow-up of MK-5172 with Pegylated Interferon alfa-2b and Ribavirin (PR) in HCV Genotype 1 Treatment-naïve Non-cirrhotic Patients. Manns, M. et al. Oral Presentation: Friday, April 26, 16:00-18:00, RAI Convention Centre.
  • MK-5172 In Combination With Peg-Interferon And Ribavirin Elicits Limited Resistance While Demonstrating Robust Efficacy In Treatment Naïve Genotype 1 Chronic HCV-Infected Patients. Howe, A. et al. Poster 1197. Saturday, April 27, 12:30-13:30. RAI Convention Centre.
  • Sustained Viral Response And Safety Of MK-7009 In Cirrhotic Treatment-Experienced Patients With Genotype 1 HCV Infection Who Have Failed Previous Pegylated Interferon And Ribavirin Treatment. Rodriguez-Torres, M. et al. Oral Presentation. Saturday, April 27, 8:30-10:30. RAI Convention Centre.

"We are pleased to present new data on VICTRELIS that will help inform health care professionals as they consider the use of VICTRELIS in appropriate patients," said Eliav Barr, M.D., vice president, Infectious Diseases, Project Leadership and Management, Merck Research Laboratories. "Merck is committed to helping reduce the burden of this serious disease worldwide. We look forward to sharing our new data about VICTRELIS and Merck's investigational medicines for chronic hepatitis C with the global scientific community."

MK-5172 is an investigational, once-daily, oral HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitor currently in Phase II development. Vaniprevir is an oral, twice-daily HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitor in Phase III development in Japan for the treatment of genotype 1 patients.

The abstracts were published today and can be accessed on the EASL website. For program information, please visit http://www2.kenes.com/liver-congress/pages/home.aspx.

Indications and usage for VICTRELIS

VICTRELIS® (boceprevir) is indicated for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 (G1) infection, in combination with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin (PR), in adult patients (18 years and older) with compensated liver disease, including cirrhosis, who are previously untreated or who have failed previous interferon and ribavirin therapy, including prior null responders, partial responders, and relapsers.

The following points should be considered when initiating VICTRELIS for treatment of chronic HCV infection:

  • VICTRELIS must not be used as monotherapy and should only be used in combination with PR.
  • The efficacy of VICTRELIS has not been studied in patients who have previously failed therapy with a treatment regimen that includes VICTRELIS or other HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitors.
  • Poorly interferon responsive patients who were treated with VICTRELIS in combination with PR have a lower likelihood of achieving a sustained virologic response (SVR), and a higher rate of detection of resistance-associated substitutions upon treatment failure, compared to patients with a greater response to PR.

Important safety information about VICTRELIS

All contraindications to PR also apply since VICTRELIS must be administered with PR. Because ribavirin may cause birth defects and fetal death, VICTRELIS in combination with PR is contraindicated in pregnant women and in men whose female partners are pregnant. Avoid pregnancy in female patients and female partners of male patients. Patients must have a negative pregnancy test prior to therapy; have monthly pregnancy tests; and use 2 or more forms of effective contraception during treatment and for at least 6 months after treatment has concluded. One of these forms of contraception can be a combined oral contraceptive product containing at least 1 mg of norethindrone. Oral contraceptives containing lower doses of norethindrone and other forms of hormonal contraception have not been studied or are contraindicated.

VICTRELIS is contraindicated in patients with a history of a hypersensitivity reaction to VICTRELIS. VICTRELIS is contraindicated in coadministration with drugs that are highly dependent on CYP3A4/5 for clearance, and for which elevated plasma concentrations are associated with serious and/or life-threatening events. VICTRELIS is also contraindicated in coadministration with potent CYP3A4/5 inducers, where significantly reduced VICTRELIS plasma concentrations may be associated with reduced efficacy. Drugs that are contraindicated with VICTRELIS include: alfuzosin, carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, rifampin, dihydroergotamine, ergonovine, ergotamine, methylergonovine, cisapride, St. John’s Wort (hypericum perforatum), lovastatin, simvastatin, drospirenone, Revatio® (sildenafil) or Adcirca® (tadalafil) (when used for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension), pimozide, triazolam, and orally administered midazolam.

Anemia and/or Neutropenia – The addition of VICTRELIS to PR is associated with an additional decrease in hemoglobin concentrations compared with PR alone and/or may result in worsening of neutropenia associated with PR therapy alone. Dose reduction or discontinuation of peginterferon alfa and/or ribavirin may be required. If peginterferon alfa or ribavirin is permanently discontinued, VICTRELIS must also be discontinued. Dose reduction of VICTRELIS is not recommended. VICTRELIS must not be administered in the absence of PR.

Complete blood count (with white blood cell differential counts) must be conducted in all patients prior to initiating combination therapy with VICTRELIS. Complete blood counts should be obtained at Treatment Weeks 2, 4, 8, and 12, and should be monitored closely at other time points, as clinically appropriate. Serious acute hypersensitivity reactions (eg, urticaria, angioedema) have been observed during combination therapy with VICTRELIS and PR. If such an acute reaction occurs, combination therapy should be discontinued and appropriate medical therapy immediately instituted.

The most commonly reported adverse reactions (>35%) in clinical trials in adult patients receiving the combination of VICTRELIS with PR were: fatigue, anemia, nausea, headache, and dysgeusia. Of these commonly reported adverse reactions, fatigue, anemia, nausea, and dysgeusia occurred at rates ≥5% above the rates for PR alone in either clinical study. The incidence of these adverse reactions in previously untreated subjects that were treated with combination therapy with VICTRELIS compared with PR alone were: fatigue (58% vs 59%), anemia (50% vs 30%), nausea (46% vs 42%), and dysgeusia (35% vs 16%), respectively. The incidence of these adverse reactions in previous treatment failure patients that were treated with combination therapy with VICTRELIS compared with PR alone were: fatigue (55% vs 50%), anemia (45% vs 20%), nausea (43% vs 38%), and dysgeusia (44% vs 11%), respectively.

VICTRELIS is a strong inhibitor of CYP3A4/5 and is partly metabolized by CYP3A4/5. The potential for drug-drug interactions must be considered prior to and during therapy.

Please see U.S. prescribing information at: http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/v/victrelis/victrelis_pi.pdf

Merck's Global Commitment to Advancing Hepatitis Therapy

Merck is committed to building on its strong legacy in the field of viral hepatitis by continuing to discover, develop and deliver vaccines and medicines to help prevent and treat viral hepatitis. In hepatitis C, company researchers developed the first approved therapy for chronic HCV in 1991 and the first combination therapy in 1998. In addition to ongoing studies for our marketed and investigational medicines for the treatment of chronic HCV, extensive research efforts are underway to develop additional innovative oral therapies for viral hepatitis treatment.

About Merck

Today's Merck is a global healthcare 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 consumer care 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 healthcare 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 United States 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 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’s 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. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Merck’s 2012 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).

Please see Prescribing Information for VICTRELIS at http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/v/victrelis/victrelis_pi.pdf and Medication Guide for VICTRELIS at http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/v/victrelis/victrelis_mg.pdf.

Revatio® and Adcirca® are trademarks of their respective owners and are not trademarks of Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, N.J., USA.
VICTRELIS® is a trademark of Schering Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, N.J., USA.

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