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Pfizer and Merck collaborate for cancer immunotherapy

Authored by James Sheppard

Two global pharmaceutical giants Merck and Pfizer have announced a deal that will see them collaborate on a study to evaluate a potential lung-cancer treatment. This deal is the latest in a number of big pharma partnerships to evaluate immunotherapies across a range of oncological indications.

The deal will see the companies testing a combination of Merck’s investigational antibody pembrolizumab and Pfizer’s crizotinib (also known as Xalkori). This combination product will be tested in nonsmall-cell lung cancer. Although the terms of the collaboration were not disclosed, Pfizer has said it will conduct the study.

Eric Rubin, VP Oncology Clinical Research said in a press release, ‘Evidence from early studies of pembrolizumab monotherapy together with Xalkori’s proven targeted therapeutic approach provides the scientific rationale for evaluating this combination for the treatment of lung cancer.’

This deal is the latest in collaborations in the big pharma oncology market with companies such as Celgene, BMS, Amgen, Pfizer and Merck all announcing collaborations. The immunotherapy space has been particularly active in this area with analyst expecting more deals before the year is out.

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