Merck Stops Phase 3 Trial of Cancer Drug After Poor Results

January 25, 2021

Merck has announced that it is ending a phase 3 study evaluating its immunotherapy bintrafusp alfa in patients with stage IV nonsmall-cell lung cancer, following disappointing efficacy results.

The decision was made after the trial board’s independent data monitoring committee said the primary endpoint of progression-free survival was unlikely to be achieved.

Launched in 2018, the study was originally meant to include 584 patients randomized to receive either bintrafusp alfa or Merck’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab), but the company capped enrollment in October 2020 at 300 patients after an interim analysis.

Merck said it will continue to evaluate bintrafusp alfa in additional studies.

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