Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved expanded use of its antibiotic to cure hospital-acquired pneumonia in people 18 years and older. This nod comes on the back of the treatment’s late-stage study data, which indicated that Zerbaxa was effective as an antibacterial drug. Zerbaxa was included in Merck’s drug portfolio after it concluded the buyout of Cubist Pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Roy Baynes of Merck Research Laboratories expressed that they are thankful to all of the subjects who participated in the trials, which resulted in the approval of ZERBAXA for the cure of HABP/VABP. This approval highlights Merck’s commitment to helping reduce the burden of infectious ailments, including grave infections triggered by Gram-negative pathogens.
While the FDA has been looking for updated versions of antibiotics, the companies have restrained from advancing the treatments, as fighting antimicrobial-resistant pathogens become increasingly challenging. As many as 2 million people in the U.S. are infected from antibiotic-resistant bacteria, leading in 23,000 deaths yearly.
In other news, Merck reported its drug Keytruda has set new five-year survival rate for advanced lung cancer. Almost a quarter of people who received Keytruda as a preliminary therapy for advanced lung cancer showed a survival rate of five years. That exhibits a remarkable gain over the historical 5-year survival rate of merely 5% for those with this disease prior to the launch of drugs like Keytruda.
Dr. Roy Baynes, the Chief Medical Officer at Merck, expressed that it is a notable improvement. This marks a fundamental change in the result for patients. Keytruda contends with peer drugs from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY), Roche Holdings AG (OTCMKTS:RHHBY) and others in numerous types of cancer.
Keytruda is Merck’s most vital growth driver. It has outdone Bristol’s Opdivo as the market’s immuno-oncology pioneer with sales anticipated to surpass $10 billion this year. The trial named Keynote-001 and showcased at the ASCO meeting in Chicago comprised 550 subjects with advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Post 5 years, 23.2% of subjects who had not got any treatment prior to Merck’s Keytruda were alive.