Company Announcements

LYNPARZA® (olaparib) Approved in China as First-Line Maintenance Treatment With Bevacizumab for Homologous Recombination Deficient (HRD)-Positive Advanced Ovarian Cancer

One in two women with advanced ovarian cancer has an HRD-positive tumor

RAHWAY, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 22, 2022-- AstraZeneca and Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, today announced that LYNPARZA has been approved in China as first-line maintenance treatment for adult patients with advanced epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer who are in complete or partial response to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy in combination with bevacizumab and whose cancer is associated with homologous recombination deficiency (HRD)-positive status.

In China, ovarian cancer is the third most common gynecologic cancer, and the five-year survival rate is approximately 39%, with more than 70% of women diagnosed with advanced disease (stage III or IV). In 2020, there were over 55,000 new cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed in China.

The approval by China’s National Medical Products Administration was based on an HRD-positive subgroup exploratory analysis of the Phase 3 PAOLA-1 trial, which showed LYNPARZAplus bevacizumab following response to platinum-based chemotherapy demonstrated a substantial progression-free survival (PFS) improvement versus bevacizumab alone for patients with HRD-positive advanced ovarian cancer. The safety and tolerability profile of LYNPARZA in this trial was in line with that observed in prior clinical trials, with no new safety signals. The most common adverse reactions (ARs) occurring in ≥10% of patients treated with LYNPARZA in combination with bevacizumab and at a ≥5% greater frequency compared to bevacizumab alone were nausea (53%), fatigue (including asthenia) (53%), anemia (41%), lymphopenia (24%), vomiting (22%) and leukopenia (18%). Additional ARs that occurred in ≥10% of patients receiving LYNPARZA in combination with bevacizumab, irrespective of the frequency compared to bevacizumab alone were diarrhea (18%), neutropenia (18%), urinary tract infection (15%) and headache (14%).

During the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress 2022, updated results were presented from the PAOLA-1 trial, demonstrating that LYNPARZAplus bevacizumab provided a clinically meaningful improvement in overall survival (OS) in an exploratory subgroup analysis of HRD-positive patients with advanced ovarian cancer. These OS results were not statistically significant.

Professor Ding Ma, member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said, “Ovarian cancer has the highest fatality rate among gynecologic cancers in China. The emergence of PARP inhibitors and their application in the first-line treatment of ovarian cancer could help patients delay disease progression and achieve long-term remission. In the PAOLA-1 trial, the combination of olaparib and bevacizumab demonstrated clinically meaningful improvements in overall survival. This approval provides HRD-positive patients with a new option for first-line maintenance therapy.”

Professor Beihua Kong, chairman of the gynecological oncology branch of the Chinese Medical Association, said, "Ovarian cancer has entered the era of precision medicine, and HRD detection (including BRCA1/2 mutations) has important clinical value for newly diagnosed patients with advanced ovarian cancer to help guide first-line treatment decisions. The approval of the combination of olaparib and bevacizumab brings a clinically meaningful survival benefit to HRD-positive patients, and further reflects the importance of a precision approach to help guide treatment decisions in ovarian cancer."

Dave Fredrickson, executive vice president, oncology business unit, AstraZeneca, said, “The maintenance treatment of LYNPARZAin combination with bevacizumab has shown to both improve progression-free survival and provide a clinically meaningful improvement in overall survival in patients with HRD-positive advanced ovarian cancer following response to platinum-based chemotherapy. I am thrilled we can now bring this targeted treatment option to these patients in China.”

Dr. Eliav Barr, senior vice president, head of global clinical development and chief medical officer, Merck Research Laboratories, said, “This approval is an important milestone for patients with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer in China and underscores the critical importance of HRD testing for all women with advanced ovarian cancer at the point of diagnosis.”

The primary results from the PAOLA-1 trial showed that LYNPARZAplus bevacizumabreduced the risk of disease progression or death by 67% (HR=0.33 [95% CI, 0.25-0.45]). In the subgroup of patients with HRD-positive advanced ovarian cancer, the addition of LYNPARZAto bevacizumab improved PFS to a median of 37.2 versus 17.7 months with bevacizumab alone. The data from the PAOLA-1 trial were published in The New England Journal of Medicinein 2019.

Further results from the five-year analysis of the PAOLA-1 trial recently presented at the ESMO Congress 2022 showed LYNPARZA plus bevacizumab increased median OS to 56.5 months versus 51.6 months with bevacizumab alone in patients with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer. This increase was not statistically significant. In an exploratory subgroup analysis of HRD-positive patients, LYNPARZAplus bevacizumab provided a clinically meaningful improvement in OS, reducing the risk of death by 38% (HR=0.62 [95% CI, 0.45-0.85]) versus bevacizumab, despite PAOLA-1 having 30% stage IV patients.

LYNPARZA in combination with bevacizumab is approved in the U.S., European Union and several other countries as a first-line maintenance treatment for patients with HRD-positive advanced ovarian cancer and is currently under regulatory review in other countries around the world.

About PAOLA-1

PAOLA-1 is a Phase 3, double-blind trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of LYNPARZAadded to standard-of-care bevacizumab versus bevacizumab alone as a first-line maintenance treatment for patients with newly diagnosed advanced FIGO stage III-IV high-grade serous or endometroid ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer who had a complete or partial response to first-line treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy and bevacizumab. AstraZeneca and Merck announced in August 2019 that the trial met its primary endpoint of PFS in the overall trial population.

PAOLA-1 is an ENGOT (European Network of Gynaecological Oncological Trial groups) trial, sponsored by ARCAGY Research (Association de Recherche sur les CAncers dont GYnécologiques) on behalf of GINECO (Groupe d’Investigateurs National des Etudes des Cancers Ovariens et du sein). ARCAGY-GINECO is an academic group specializing in clinical and translational research in patients’ cancers and a member of the GCIG (Gynecologic Cancer InterGroup).

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

CONTRAINDICATIONS

There are no contraindications for LYNPARZA.

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

Myelodysplastic Syndrome/Acute Myeloid Leukemia (MDS/AML): Occurred in approximately 1.5% of patients exposed to LYNPARZA monotherapy, and the majority of events had a fatal outcome. The median duration of therapy in patients who developed MDS/AML was 2 years (range: <6 months to >10 years). All of these patients had previous chemotherapy with platinum agents and/or other DNA-damaging agents, including radiotherapy.

Do not start LYNPARZA until patients have recovered from hematological toxicity caused by previous chemotherapy (≤Grade 1). Monitor complete blood count for cytopenia at baseline and monthly thereafter for clinically significant changes during treatment. For prolonged hematological toxicities, interrupt LYNPARZA and monitor blood count weekly until recovery.

If the levels have not recovered to Grade 1 or less after 4 weeks, refer the patient to a hematologist for further investigations, including bone marrow analysis and blood sample for cytogenetics. Discontinue LYNPARZA if MDS/AML is confirmed.

Pneumonitis: Occurred in 0.8% of patients exposed to LYNPARZA monotherapy, and some cases were fatal. If patients present with new or worsening respiratory symptoms such as dyspnea, cough, and fever, or a radiological abnormality occurs, interrupt LYNPARZA treatment and initiate prompt investigation. Discontinue LYNPARZA if pneumonitis is confirmed and treat patient appropriately.

Embryo-Fetal Toxicity: Based on its mechanism of action and findings in animals, LYNPARZA can cause fetal harm. A pregnancy test is recommended for females of reproductive potential prior to initiating treatment.

Females

Advise females of reproductive potential of the potential risk to a fetus and to use effective contraception during treatment and for 6 months following the last dose.

Males

Advise male patients with female partners of reproductive potential or who are pregnant to use effective contraception during treatment and for 3 months following the last dose of LYNPARZA and to not donate sperm during this time.

Venous Thromboembolic Events: Including pulmonary embolism, occurred in 7% of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer who received LYNPARZA plus androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) compared to 3.1% of patients receiving enzalutamide or abiraterone plus ADT in the PROfound study. Patients receiving LYNPARZA and ADT had a 6% incidence of pulmonary embolism compared to 0.8% of patients treated with ADT plus either enzalutamide or abiraterone. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, and treat as medically appropriate, which may include long-term anticoagulation as clinically indicated.

ADVERSE REACTIONS—First-Line Maintenance BRCAm Advanced Ovarian Cancer

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥10% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the first-line maintenance setting for SOLO-1 were: nausea (77%), fatigue (67%), abdominal pain (45%), vomiting (40%), anemia (38%), diarrhea (37%), constipation (28%), upper respiratory tract infection/influenza/nasopharyngitis/bronchitis (28%), dysgeusia (26%), decreased appetite (20%), dizziness (20%), neutropenia (17%), dyspepsia (17%), dyspnea (15%), leukopenia (13%), urinary tract infection (13%), thrombocytopenia (11%), and stomatitis (11%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the first-line maintenance setting for SOLO-1 were: decrease in hemoglobin (87%), increase in mean corpuscular volume (87%), decrease in leukocytes (70%), decrease in lymphocytes (67%), decrease in absolute neutrophil count (51%), decrease in platelets (35%), and increase in serum creatinine (34%).

ADVERSE REACTIONS—First-Line Maintenance Advanced Ovarian Cancer in Combination with Bevacizumab

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥10% of patients treated with LYNPARZA/bevacizumab and at a ≥5% frequency compared to placebo/bevacizumab in the first-line maintenance setting for PAOLA-1 were: nausea (53%), fatigue (including asthenia) (53%), anemia (41%), lymphopenia (24%), vomiting (22%) and leukopenia (18%). In addition, the most common adverse reactions (≥10%) for patients receiving LYNPARZA/bevacizumab irrespective of the frequency compared with the placebo/bevacizumab arm were: diarrhea (18%), neutropenia (18%), urinary tract infection (15%) and headache (14%).

In addition, venous thromboembolic events occurred more commonly in patients receiving LYNPARZA/bevacizumab (5%) than in those receiving placebo/bevacizumab (1.9%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients for LYNPARZA in combination with bevacizumab in the first-line maintenance setting for PAOLA-1 were: decrease in hemoglobin (79%), decrease in lymphocytes (63%), increase in serum creatinine (61%), decrease in leukocytes (59%), decrease in absolute neutrophil count (35%) and decrease in platelets (35%).

ADVERSE REACTIONS—Maintenance Recurrent Ovarian Cancer

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥20% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the maintenance setting for SOLO-2 were: nausea (76%), fatigue (including asthenia) (66%), anemia (44%), vomiting (37%), nasopharyngitis/upper respiratory tract infection (URI)/influenza (36%), diarrhea (33%), arthralgia/myalgia (30%), dysgeusia (27%), headache (26%), decreased appetite (22%), and stomatitis (20%).

Study 19: nausea (71%), fatigue (including asthenia) (63%), vomiting (35%), diarrhea (28%), anemia (23%), respiratory tract infection (22%), constipation (22%), headache (21%), decreased appetite (21%) and dyspepsia (20%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the maintenance setting (SOLO-2/Study 19) were: increase in mean corpuscular volume (89%/82%), decrease in hemoglobin (83%/82%), decrease in leukocytes (69%/58%), decrease in lymphocytes (67%/52%), decrease in absolute neutrophil count (51%/47%), increase in serum creatinine (44%/45%), and decrease in platelets (42%/36%).

ADVERSE REACTIONS—Adjuvant Treatment of gBRCAm, HER2-Negative, High-Risk Early Breast Cancer

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥10% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the adjuvant setting for OlympiA were: nausea (57%), fatigue (including asthenia) (42%), anemia (24%), vomiting (23%), headache (20%), diarrhea (18%), leukopenia (17%), neutropenia (16%), decreased appetite (13%), dysgeusia (12%), dizziness (11%), and stomatitis (10%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the adjuvant setting for OlympiA were: decrease in lymphocytes (77%), increase in mean corpuscular volume (67%), decrease in hemoglobin (65%), decrease in leukocytes (64%), and decrease in absolute neutrophil count (39%).

ADVERSE REACTIONS—gBRCAm, HER2-Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥20% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the metastatic setting for OlympiAD were: nausea (58%), anemia (40%), fatigue (including asthenia) (37%), vomiting (30%), neutropenia (27%), respiratory tract infection (27%), leukopenia (25%), diarrhea (21%), and headache (20%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in >25% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the metastatic setting for OlympiAD were: decrease in hemoglobin (82%), decrease in lymphocytes (73%), decrease in leukocytes (71%), increase in mean corpuscular volume (71%), decrease in absolute neutrophil count (46%), and decrease in platelets (33%).

ADVERSE REACTIONS—First-Line Maintenance gBRCAm Metastatic Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥10% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the first-line maintenance setting for POLO were: fatigue (60%), nausea (45%), abdominal pain (34%), diarrhea (29%), anemia (27%), decreased appetite (25%), constipation (23%), vomiting (20%), back pain (19%), arthralgia (15%), rash (15%), thrombocytopenia (14%), dyspnea (13%), neutropenia (12%), nasopharyngitis (12%), dysgeusia (11%), and stomatitis (10%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the first-line maintenance setting for POLO were: increase in serum creatinine (99%), decrease in hemoglobin (86%), increase in mean corpuscular volume (71%), decrease in lymphocytes (61%), decrease in platelets (56%), decrease in leukocytes (50%), and decrease in absolute neutrophil count (25%).

ADVERSE REACTIONS—HRR Gene-mutated Metastatic Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥10% of patients who received LYNPARZA for PROfound were: anemia (46%), fatigue (including asthenia) (41%), nausea (41%), decreased appetite (30%), diarrhea (21%), vomiting (18%), thrombocytopenia (12%), cough (11%), and dyspnea (10%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients who received LYNPARZA for PROfound were: decrease in hemoglobin (98%), decrease in lymphocytes (62%), decrease in leukocytes (53%), and decrease in absolute neutrophil count (34%).

DRUG INTERACTIONS

Anticancer Agents: Clinical studies of LYNPARZA with other myelosuppressive anticancer agents, including DNA-damaging agents, indicate a potentiation and prolongation of myelosuppressive toxicity.

CYP3A Inhibitors: Avoid coadministration of strong or moderate CYP3A inhibitors when using LYNPARZA. If a strong or moderate CYP3A inhibitor must be coadministered, reduce the dose of LYNPARZA. Advise patients to avoid grapefruit, grapefruit juice, Seville oranges, and Seville orange juice during LYNPARZA treatment.

CYP3A Inducers: Avoid coadministration of strong or moderate CYP3A inducers when using LYNPARZA.

USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS

Lactation: No data are available regarding the presence of olaparib in human milk, its effects on the breastfed infant or on milk production. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in the breastfed infant, advise a lactating woman not to breastfeed during treatment with LYNPARZA and for 1 month after receiving the final dose.

Pediatric Use: The safety and efficacy of LYNPARZA have not been established in pediatric patients.

Hepatic Impairment: No adjustment to the starting dose is required in patients with mild or moderate hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh classification A and B). There are no data in patients with severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh classification C).

Renal Impairment: No dosage modification is recommended in patients with mild renal impairment (CLcr 51-80 mL/min estimated by Cockcroft-Gault). In patients with moderate renal impairment (CLcr 31-50 mL/min), reduce the dose of LYNPARZA to 200 mg twice daily. There are no data in patients with severe renal impairment or end-stage renal disease (CLcr ≤30 mL/min).

INDICATIONS for LYNPARZA in the United States

LYNPARZA is a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor indicated for:

First-Line Maintenance BRCAm Advanced Ovarian Cancer

For the maintenance treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious germline or somatic BRCA-mutated (gBRCAm or sBRCAm) advanced epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer who are in complete or partial response to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.

First-Line Maintenance HRD-Positive Advanced Ovarian Cancer in Combination with Bevacizumab

In combination with bevacizumab for the maintenance treatment of adult patients with advanced epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer who are in complete or partial response to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy and whose cancer is associated with homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) positive status defined by either:

  • a deleterious or suspected deleterious BRCA mutation and/or
  • genomic instability

Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.

Maintenance Recurrent Ovarian Cancer

For the maintenance treatment of adult patients with recurrent epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer, who are in complete or partial response to platinum-based chemotherapy.

Adjuvant Treatment of gBRCAm, HER2-Negative, High-Risk Early Breast Cancer

For the adjuvant treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious gBRCAm, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative high-risk early breast cancer who have been treated with neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.

gBRCAm HER2-Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer

For the treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious gBRCAm, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative metastatic breast cancer, who have been treated with chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant, adjuvant or metastatic setting. Patients with hormone receptor (HR)-positive breast cancer should have been treated with a prior endocrine therapy or be considered inappropriate for endocrine therapy. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.

First-Line Maintenance gBRCAm Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

For the maintenance treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious gBRCAm metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma whose disease has not progressed on at least 16 weeks of a first-line platinum-based chemotherapy regimen. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.

HRR Gene-mutated Metastatic Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer

For the treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious germline or somatic homologous recombination repair (HRR) gene-mutated metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) who have progressed following prior treatment with enzalutamide or abiraterone. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.

Please see complete Prescribing Information , including Medication Guide .

About LYNPARZA® (olaparib)

LYNPARZA is a first-in-class PARP inhibitor and the first targeted treatment to potentially exploit DNA damage response (DDR) pathway deficiencies, such as BRCA mutations, to preferentially kill cancer cells. Inhibition of PARP with LYNPARZA leads to the trapping of PARP bound to DNA single-strand breaks, stalling of replication forks, their collapse and the generation of DNA double-strand breaks and cancer cell death. LYNPARZA is being tested in a range of tumor types with defects and dependencies in the DDR.

LYNPARZA, which is being jointly developed and commercialized by AstraZeneca and Merck, has a broad and advanced clinical trial development program, and AstraZeneca and Merck are working together to understand how it may affect multiple PARP-dependent tumors as a monotherapy and in combination across multiple cancer types.

About ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer in women worldwide. Globally, there were more than 313,000 new cases of ovarian cancer in 2020 and over 207,000 deaths. The five-year survival rate of newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer patients has typically been 30-50%. Roughly half of women with advanced ovarian cancer have HRD-positive tumors, including those with a BRCA mutation, and one in four women have a BRCA mutation. The primary aim of first-line treatment is to delay disease progression for as long as possible with the intent to achieve long-term remission.

About homologous recombination deficiency

Homologous recombination deficiency, which defines a subgroup of ovarian cancer, encompasses a wide range of genetic abnormalities, including BRCA mutations and beyond. As with BRCA gene mutations, HRD interferes with normal cell DNA repair mechanisms and confers sensitivity to PARP inhibitors including LYNPARZA.

About the AstraZeneca and Merck strategic oncology collaboration

In July 2017, AstraZeneca and Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, announced a global strategic oncology collaboration to co-develop and co-commercialize certain oncology products, including LYNPARZA, the world’s first PARP inhibitor, for multiple cancer types. Working together, the companies will develop these products in combination with other potential new medicines and as monotherapies. Independently, the companies will develop these oncology products in combination with their respective PD-L1 and PD-1 medicines.

Merck’s focus on cancer

Our goal is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. At Merck, the potential to bring new hope to people with cancer drives our purpose and supporting accessibility to our cancer medicines is our commitment. As part of our focus on cancer, Merck is committed to exploring the potential of immuno-oncology with one of the largest development programs in the industry across more than 30 tumor types. We also continue to strengthen our portfolio through strategic acquisitions and are prioritizing the development of several promising oncology candidates with the potential to improve the treatment of advanced cancers. For more information about our oncology clinical trials, visit www.merck.com/clinicaltrials.

About Merck

At Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, we are unified around our purpose: We use the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world. For more than 130 years, we have brought hope to humanity through the development of important medicines and vaccines. We aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world – and today, we are at the forefront of research to deliver innovative health solutions that advance the prevention and treatment of diseases in people and animals. We foster a diverse and inclusive global workforce and operate responsibly every day to enable a safe, sustainable and healthy future for all people and communities. 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., Rahway, N.J., USA

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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 the global outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19); 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 Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021 and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (www.sec.gov).

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Source: Merck & Co., Inc.