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14 Apr 2015

Merck & Pfizer – Copromotion deal of cancer drug Xalkori

In the second and third quarters of 2015, Merck and Pfizer will begin co-promoting Xalkori in the US, Canada, Japan and five European Union countries.

Merck and Pfizer have finalised the co-promotion agreement allowing the companies to jointly promote Pfizer’s anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitor Xalkori (crizotinib). “This agreement showcases the alliance’s commitment to establishing a combined oncology sales organisation in key markets in advance of the potential launch of avelumab-based treatment regimens in the future,” said the two companies in a press release.

Xalkori is the first ALK inhibitor approved in the US, Japan and the European Union (EU) and is supported by two positive global randomised trials in the first- and second-line ALK-positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treatment settings. To date, globally more than 8,000 patients have been treated with Xalkori, including those who received Xalkori in clinical trials.

Under the agreement, Xalkori will be co-promoted in two waves, the first of which will begin in the second and third quarters of 2015 in the US, Canada, Japan and five European Union countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK). In the US and Canada, Xalkori will be co-promoted by EMD Serono, the US and Canadian biopharmaceutical businesses of Merck. The second wave will begin in 2016 and includes China and Turkey.

In 2015, Merck will receive a reimbursement associated with its promotion of Xalkori, followed by an 80 percent (Pfizer), 20 percent (Merck) profit sharing on the product starting in 2016. The co-promotion term will last through December 31, 2020 for the US, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK and from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2021 in China and Turkey. Pfizer will report the sales of Xalkori in countries where it is co-promoted with Merck.

This co-promotion relationship is related to the announcement in November 2014 of a global strategic alliance between Merck and Pfizer to jointly develop and commercialise avelumab, an investigational anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody, to accelerate the development of immuno-oncology medicines for patients with cancer. The immune-oncology alliance will also advance Pfizer’s PD-1 antibody.

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