KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that it has started the submission of a rolling Biologics License Application (BLA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for V920 (rVSV∆G-ZEBOV-GP, live attenuated), the company’s investigational vaccine for Ebola Zaire disease. This rolling submission is made pursuant to the FDA’s Breakthrough Therapy Designation for V920, which was announced by the company in July 2016.
“By the FDA agreeing to accept our BLA on a rolling basis, we have together made another important step forward in accelerating the regulatory review process for V920,” said Paula Annunziato, M.D., vice president for clinical research, Merck Research Laboratories. “We are fully committed to the development of this important vaccine against Ebola. In the meantime, pre-licensure, investigational doses of V920 are available to support response to Ebola Zaire outbreaks on an emergency basis in coordination with global public health authorities.”
Currently, Merck expects the rolling submission of the BLA to be completed in 2019.
More About Breakthrough Therapy Designation
The FDA’s 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.
More About V920
V920 was initially engineered by scientists from the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory and subsequently licensed to a subsidiary of NewLink Genetics Corporation. In late 2014, when the Ebola outbreak in western Africa was at its peak, Merck licensed V920 from NewLink Genetics. Since that time, the company has worked closely with a number of external collaborators to enable a broad clinical development program with partial funding from the U.S. Government, including the Department of Health and Human Service’s Biomedical Advanced Research Development Authority (BARDA) under Contract No. HHSO100201700012C and other contracts, as well as the Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Program (DTRA) and Joint Vaccination Acquisition Program (JVAP), among others. Merck is responsible for the research, development, manufacturing, and regulatory efforts in support of V920. The company has committed to working closely with other stakeholders to accelerate the continued development, production and, if licensed, distribution of the vaccine.
Merck’s Commitment to Infectious Diseases
For more than 80 years, Merck has contributed to the discovery and development of novel medicines and vaccines to combat infectious disease. In addition to a combined portfolio of antibiotic and antifungal medicines, vaccines, and medicines for HIV and HCV, Merck has multiple programs that span discovery through late-state development. Merck currently has 10 compounds in Phase 2/Phase 3 clinical trials for the potential treatment or prevention of infectious diseases.
For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. 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. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world - including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A.
This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the “company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. 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 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; 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 2017 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).