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U.S. Approval Of Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Cancer Immunotherapy Expected Soon



8/25/2014 6:16:29 AM

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(Reuters) - U.S. regulators are likely to approve Merck & Co's highly anticipated immuno-oncology drug, pembrolizumab, as a treatment for melanoma well ahead of a late October deadline, according to three sources familiar with the situation.

If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the drug would be the first in a promising new class designed to help the body's own immune system fend off cancer by blocking a protein known as Programmed Death receptor (PD-1), or a related target known as PD-L1, used by tumors to evade disease-fighting cells.

Companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche Holding AG and AstraZeneca Plc are racing to develop similar treatments for a variety of cancers.

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