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Merck Announces New Phase 2 Data on Investigational Triple Combination Therapy MK-3682B for Chronic Hepatitis C

KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE) April 22, 2017 --Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, today announced the first sustained virologic response1 (SVR) results 12 weeks after completion of therapy (SVR12, considered virologic cure) from C-SURGE , an ongoing, open label Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating MK-3682B [uprifosbuvir (MK-3682)2/grazoprevir3/rusazvir4], the company’s investigational triple-combination therapy in treatment-experienced patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype (GT) 1 infection for whom treatment with approved direct-acting antiviral regimens had failed. The study showed that 100 percent (43/43) of patients who completed 16 weeks of treatment plus ribavirin (RBV) achieved SVR12 and 100 percent (49/49) of patients who completed 24 weeks of treatment achieved SVR12 (abstract PS-159). These results will be presented today at The International Liver Congress™ 2017.

“Despite the significant progress made to address the worldwide epidemic of chronic hepatitis C infection, there remains a need for additional treatment options,” said Dr. Heiner Wedemeyer, lead study investigator and research group leader in the department of gastroenterology, hepatology and endocrinology at Hannover Medical School, Germany. “We are encouraged by the high virologic cure rates in the difficult-to-treat patients observed in the C-SURGE study and look forward to further evaluation of this investigational triple-combination therapy.”

The Phase 2 C-SURGE study enrolled 94 patients who were randomized to receive a once-daily regimen of MK-3682B for either 16 weeks with RBV (n=45) or 24 weeks without RBV (n=49); one patient in the 16-week arm withdrew prior to starting treatment. Of the 93 patients who received treatment (full analysis set), 57 had previously received a regimen of ledipasvir/sofosbuvir (LDV/SOF) for 12 to 24 weeks, 14 had previously received LDV/SOF for 8 weeks and 22 had previously received ZEPATIER® (elbasvir and grazoprevir) for 12 weeks. Seventy-eight patients who received treatment had at least one baseline NS5A resistance-associated substitution (RAS) at positions 28, 30, 31 or 93. Eighty patients who received treatment in C-SURGE had GT1a infection, and 40 patients had compensated cirrhosis. In the full analysis set, 98 percent of patients who received MK-3682B for 16 weeks with RBV (43/44) and 100 percent of patients who received MK-3682B for 24 weeks without RBV (49/49) achieved SVR12.

Results from the modified full analysis set, which excludes one patient in the 16-week arm who withdrew after three doses of treatment, show that 100 percent of patients receiving treatment with MK-3682B for 16 weeks with RBV (43/43) and 100 percent of patients receiving treatment with MK-3682B for 24 weeks without RBV (49/49) achieved SVR12.

Across the combined treatment arms, the most common adverse events (AEs) reported in the full analysis set were fatigue (35%), headache (13%), diarrhea (9%), rash (9%) and pruritus (5%). There were no drug-related serious AEs, and no patients discontinued treatment due to a drug-related AE.

SVR8 results from the C-SURGE study were previously presented at The Liver Meeting® 2016.

About MK-3682B

MK-3682B is Merck’s investigational triple-combination therapy in Phase 2 development for the treatment of chronic HCV infection. MK-3682B combines an HCV nucleotide analogue NS5B polymerase inhibitor (MK-3682), an HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitor (grazoprevir, MK-5172) and an HCV NS5A inhibitor (ruzasvir, MK-8408).

Merck’s Commitment to HCV

For more than 30 years, Merck has been at the forefront of the response to the HCV epidemic. Merck’s chronic HCV clinical development programs have included more than 135 clinical trials in approximately 40 countries and have enrolled nearly 10,000 participants. As part of our longstanding leadership in infectious diseases, Merck collaborates with the scientific and patient communities to develop and deliver innovative solutions to support people living with chronic HCV worldwide.

About Merck

For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been 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., USA

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 2016 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 Measured as HCV RNA less than 15 IU/mL.
2 MK-3682 is an HCV nucleotide analogue NS5B polymerase inhibitor.
3 Grazoprevir is an HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitor (100mg).
4 Rusazvir (MK-8408) is an HCV NS5A inhibitor.

Source: Merck

Posted: April 2017

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