Merck KGaA cancer drug flunks trial

Jan. 21, 2021

A lung cancer drug being developed by Merck KGaA and GlaxoSmithKline has failed a late-stage trial.

According to the companies, independent monitors of the trial reported that the drug, bintrafusp, was not likely to hit its primary endpoint of progression-free survival. The trial had pitted bintrafusp against Keytruda, Merck and Co.’s blockbuster PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor, in newly diagnosed patients with certain types of lung cancer.

The trial results were a major setback for Merck KGaA and GSK, who are co-developing the drug under a deal potentially worth up to $4.5 billion. 

Despite the dour news, the companies said that the drug still has potential and is being investigated in early trials for several other types of cancers. 

Read the full Reuters report.