Merck showcases Phase 3 study results of letermovir in bone marrow transplants

Letermovir is a primary prophylaxis of CMV infection and represents a potential new strategy for prevention. | File photo

Merck & Co. Inc. recently released the results of its Phase 3 clinical study of letermovir, a drug used to prevent clinically significant cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection in CMV-seropositive adult recipients of an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT), also known as bone marrow transplant.

“These results showed that letermovir prophylaxis beginning after HSCT and continuing through Day 100 post-transplant significantly reduced CMV infection requiring preemptive antiviral therapy through Week 24 post-transplant,” said Dr. Francisco Marty, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who presented the data. “In this study, letermovir was associated with lower all-cause mortality. Based on these findings, letermovir as primary prophylaxis of CMV infection represents a potential new strategy for the prevention of CMV in this high-risk patient population.”

The company presented the results of the study in Orlando at the BMT Tandem Meetings, the combined annual meetings of the Center for International Blood & Marrow Transplant Research and the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

“There is an unmet need for therapeutic options in the prevention of CMV infection in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients,” Dr. Nicholas Kartsonis, Merck Research Laboratories vice president of infectious disease clinical research, said. “As part of Merck’s long-standing commitment to developing innovative approaches in the fight against infectious diseases, we look forward to submitting regulatory applications for letermovir this year.”

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