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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

Pfizer, Merck KGaA skin cancer drug gets EMA nod for approval

Written by: | | Dated: Friday, July 21st, 2017

(Reuters) – European regulators on Friday recommended approving Pfizer Inc and Merck KGaA’s immuno-oncology drug Bavencio to treat a rare type of skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma.

In May, Bavencio was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat bladder cancer and in March to treat Merkel cell carcinoma. (

Bavencio, known chemically as avelumab, belongs to a class of drugs called PD-L1 or PD-1 inhibitors that help the immune system to attack cancer by blocking a mechanism tumors use to evade detection.

Recommendations for marketing approval by the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) are normally endorsed by the European Commission within a couple of months.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D’Couto

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