FDA Approves Merck's Keytruda For Use In Lung Cancer

Merck & Co. campus in Linden, New Jersey
A view of the Merck & Co. campus in Linden, New Jersey March 9, 2009, after Merck & Co Inc said it would acquire Schering-Plough Corp in $41.1 billion deal, widening Merck's pipeline and diversifying its portfolio of medicines. Reuters

(Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval for Merck & Co's immunotherapy, Keytruda, in patients with a form of lung cancer.

Keytruda and another similar treatment from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co called Opdivo block a protein called PD-1, whose natural function is to put checks on the immune system.

Wall Street analysts expect such drugs to capture combined annual sales of over $20 billion by 2020.

Keytruda was approved last year to treat patients with advanced melanoma. 

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