Cancer drugmaker Incyte said Friday that a key trial combining its cancer immunotherapy drug with a blockbuster drug from Merck failed in a late-stage trial.
Incyte’s stock was down as much as 22% before markets opened on Friday morning, while Merck’s was down a little more than 1%.
Cancer immunotherapy works by harnessing the body’s immune system to treat cancer.
The trial was looking to see if combining two drugs – Merck’s PD1 checkpoint inhibitor and Incyte’s IDO1 inhibitor – that both essentially take the brake off the immune system to go after the cancer cells in people with metastatic melanoma could work even better than Merck’s drug alone.
“We remain dedicated to transforming the treatment of cancer and will continue to explore how IDO1 inhibition and other novel mechanisms can potentially improve outcomes for patients in need,” Incyte Chief Medical Officer Steven Stein said in a news release Friday.
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