Adding an experimental mRNA-based vaccine from Moderna and Merck reduced the risk that the most deadly skin cancer would spread by 65% over treatment with an immunotherapy alone in a midstage trial, the companies reported today.

The company announced its experimental personalized mRNA skin cancer vaccine in combination with Merck & Co Inc.’s drug Keytruda has received breakthrough therapy designation from U.S. regulators as an additional treatment for high risk patients.

Iovance Biotherapeutics announced the FDA’s Biologics License Application for lifileucel will likely be completed in Q1 of 2023, a short delay after the agency requested additional data.

Bristol Myers Squibb announced Thursday that its blockbuster checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo hit the primary endpoint in the Phase III CheckMate-76K trial for a particularly intractable form of melanoma. 

Merck & Co. Inc. opted to jointly develop and potentially sell a personalized mRNA vaccine with Moderna Inc. for a $250 million upfront payment on Wednesday, sending the vaccine maker’s shares up over 8%.

Merck’s exceptional revenue growth in 2021 and the first half of 2022 came thanks to three big brands, one of which is not even approved by the FDA yet.

Cancer immunotherapy biotech OncoSec Medical Inc. will lay off around 45% of its workforce to focus its resources on the development of its lead asset, TAVO-EP (tavokinogene telseplasmid), the company announced Tuesday.

Regeneron’s oncology strategy is to improve checkpoint inhibitor treatments with combination therapies – centered around Libtayo – according to a pipeline overview presented to investors Monday morning. 

South Korea-based Genuv Inc. announced the publication of a preclinical study showing that Mekinist (trametinib), approved by the FDA for melanoma, has a neuroprotective effect in Alzheimer’s disease. 

A look at factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease; how antisense oligonucleotides could create a protein missing in cystic fibrosis patients; how belly fat increases the risk of metabolic disease; and how COVID booster shots offset some of the variants’ immune evasion tactics.