DARMSTADT (dpa-AFX) - The pharmaceutical and chemical company Merck KGaA has suffered a serious setback with its promising drug Xevinapant. The company announced on Monday evening that two advanced studies on the cancer drug would be discontinued. One of these is a combination of xevinapant with platinum-based chemotherapy (CRT) compared to placebo plus CRT in patients with unresected locally advanced head and neck tumors in a phase III trial (TrilynX). It was foreseeable that the trial would probably not achieve the primary objective of prolonging event-free survival.

In addition, the X-Ray Vision phase III trial will be terminated. This is a combination of xevinapant with radiotherapy compared to placebo plus radiotherapy in patients who have undergone resection of locally advanced head and neck tumors.

Analysts had previously expected Xevinapant to become a blockbuster with sales in the billions. Investors reacted accordingly: Merck shares plummeted by almost five percent on the trading platform Tradegate./he/la