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Another approval for Merck

The US pharma group's novel cancer treatment continues to impress regulators

Merck (US:MRK) continues to lead global big pharma in the field of novel cancer care. The US group has now secured approval for its Keytruda drug in combination with chemotherapy: the first immuno-oncology/chemo combination to get the green light from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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The approval opens the door to wider use of Keytruda in lung cancer as, unlike with its monotherapy approval, the combination has been approved for all non-small-cell lung cancer patients, not just those whose cancer exhibits PD-L1 checkpoints. Keytruda sales - which rose 134 per cent to $584m in the first quarter - are expected to rocket further as a result. Analysts now expect full-year sales to be close to $3bn.

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