The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended Bavencio (avelumab), developed by Merck KGaA and Pfizer, as a second-line treatment for metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma following chemotherapy. Bavencio was also recommended for use within the Cancer Drugs Fund if patients have not had chemotherapy for metastatic disease.
NICE said Bavencio has the potential to be cost-effective as a first-line treatment at the price agreed in the managed access agreement with NHS England, however more clinical evidence is needed.
Clinical trial evidence suggests Bavencio may improve overall survival compared to chemotherapy, but the two have not been compared directly, NICE said. The trial included only a small number of people and data are still being collected. First- and second-line Bavencio met the criteria to be considered a life-extending end-of-life treatment.