Merck Announces European Medicines Agency Acceptance of Marketing Authorization Application for Grazoprevir/Elbasvir, an Investigational Therapy for Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C Infection

KENILWORTH, N.J.--()--Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has accepted for review a marketing authorization application (MAA) for grazoprevir/elbasvir (100mg/50mg), an investigational, once-daily, single-tablet combination therapy for the treatment of adult patients with chronic hepatitis C (HCV) genotypes (GT) 1, 3, 4 or 6 infection.1 The EMA will initiate review of the MAA under accelerated assessment timelines.

“Given the diversity of patient populations affected by chronic hepatitis C, including the estimated 15 million people living with the disease in Europe, it is important to provide patients and physicians with treatment options,” said Dr. Roy Baynes, senior vice president of clinical development, Merck Research Laboratories. “We are pleased to be working with regulatory authorities as we advance grazoprevir/elbasvir for appropriate patients living with chronic hepatitis C around the world.”

The EMA’s accelerated assessment is available for products that respond to unmet medical needs or represent a significant improvement over current treatment options within a major public health interest, such as the treatment of chronic HCV infection. The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) will continue to evaluate the accelerated assessment status throughout the MAA evaluation process.

The MAA for grazoprevir/elbasvir (100mg/50mg) is based in part upon data from the pivotal C-EDGE clinical trials program, as well as the C-SURFER, C-SALVAGE and C-SWIFT clinical trials, evaluating grazoprevir/elbasvir (100mg/50mg), with or without ribavirin, in patients with chronic HCV infection. Collectively, these trials evaluated treatment regimens in multiple genotypes (GT1, 3, 4 and 6), including patient populations who were previously treated, and those with cirrhosis or certain co-morbidities (i.e., HIV co-infection, chronic kidney disease stages 4 and 5).

The company submitted a New Drug Application for grazoprevir/elbasvir (100mg/50mg) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May 2015 for the treatment of chronic HCV GT1, 4 or 6 infection, and is submitting additional license applications in other markets by the end of 2015. In April 2015, the U.S. FDA granted Breakthrough Therapy designation status for grazoprevir/elbasvir for the treatment of patients infected with chronic HCV GT1 with end stage renal disease on hemodialysis, and Breakthrough Therapy designation status for grazoprevir/elbasvir for the treatment of patients infected with chronic HCV GT4. Breakthrough Therapy designation is intended to expedite the development and review of a candidate that is planned for use, alone or in combination, to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition when preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints.

About Grazoprevir/Elbasvir

Grazoprevir/elbasvir is Merck’s investigational, once-daily, single-tablet combination therapy consisting of grazoprevir (NS3/4A protease inhibitor) and elbasvir (NS5A replication complex inhibitor). As part of Merck’s broad clinical trials program, grazoprevir/elbasvir is being evaluated in multiple HCV genotypes including patients with difficult-to-treat conditions such as HIV/HCV co-infection, advanced chronic kidney disease, inherited blood disorders, liver cirrhosis, and in those on opiate substitution therapy.

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 of Merck & Co. Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA

This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA (the “company”) 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 the company’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 healthcare legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward healthcare cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company’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 the company’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company 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 the company’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.

Contacts

Merck & Co., Inc.
Media:
Doris Li, 908-246-5701
or
Sarra Herzog, 201-669-6570
or
Investor:
Joe Romanelli, 908-740-1986
or
Justin Holko, 908-740-1879

Release Summary

Merck Announces European Medicines Agency Acceptance of Marketing Authorization Application for Grazoprevir/Elbasvir, an Investigational Therapy for Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C Infection

Contacts

Merck & Co., Inc.
Media:
Doris Li, 908-246-5701
or
Sarra Herzog, 201-669-6570
or
Investor:
Joe Romanelli, 908-740-1986
or
Justin Holko, 908-740-1879