FDA Accepts Two Applications for Merck’s DIFICID® (fidaxomicin) to Treat Children Aged Six Months Up to 18 years with Clostridium difficile Infections

DIFICID® Pediatric Filings Receive Priority Review Classification

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 6:30 am EDT

Dateline:

KENILWORTH, N.J.

Public Company Information:

NYSE:
MRK
"Burden of Clostridium difficile Infection in the United States."

KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted for review a New Drug Application (NDA) for DIFICID® (fidaxomicin) for oral suspension, and a supplemental NDA (sNDA) for a new indication for use of DIFICID tablets and oral suspension for the treatment of Clostridium (also known as Clostridioides) difficile infections (CDI) in children aged six months or older. Both applications have received a priority review classification by the FDA. The Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), or target action date for both applications, is set for Jan. 24, 2020. The investigational pediatric indication for DIFICID was granted Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) in 2010.

“Evidence indicates the increasing incidence of C. difficile-associated diarrhea among hospitalized children1,” said Dr. Nicholas Kartsonis, senior vice president, Clinical Research, infectious diseases and vaccines, Merck Research Laboratories. “The filings for the pediatric indication for the new investigational oral suspension formulation of DIFICID, as well as for DIFICID tablets, underscore Merck’s focus and dedication to developing infectious disease treatments for those with unmet needs.”

The sNDA is based primarily on results of the Phase 3 SUNSHINE study2, which were presented as part of the Late Breaker Oral Abstracts on Emerging Infections at IDWeek 2018 in San Francisco, California.

About DIFICID (fidaxomicin)

DIFICID is a macrolide antibacterial medicine indicated in adults (18 years of age or older) for treatment of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD). To reduce the development of drug-resistant bacteria and maintain the effectiveness of DIFICID and other antibacterial drugs, DIFICID should be used only to treat infections that are proven or strongly suspected to be caused by Clostridium difficile. DIFICID is contraindicated in patients who have known hypersensitivity to fidaxomicin or any other ingredient in DIFICID. DIFICID should only be used for the treatment of C. difficile-associated diarrhea. DIFICID is not effective for treatment of other types of infections due to minimal systemic absorption of fidaxomicin.

About Clostridium difficile

Clostridium difficile, also known as C. difficile or C. diff, is one of the most common causes of health care-associated infections in U.S. hospitals.3 Recent estimates suggest C. difficile causes almost 500,000 infections annually in the United States and is associated with approximately 29,000 deaths within 30 days of initial diagnosis.4

Important Safety Information about DIFICID (fidaxomicin)

DIFICID is contraindicated in patients who have known hypersensitivity to fidaxomicin or any other ingredient in DIFICID.

DIFICID should only be used for the treatment of C. difficile-associated diarrhea. DIFICID is not effective for treatment of other types of infections due to minimal systemic absorption of fidaxomicin .

Acute hypersensitivity reactions, including dyspnea, rash pruritus, and angioedema of the mouth, throat, and face have been reported with DIFICID. If a severe hypersensitivity reaction occurs, DIFICID should be discontinued and appropriate therapy should be instituted.

Only use DIFICID for infection proven or strongly suspected to be caused by C. difficile. Prescribing DIFICID in the absence of a proven or strongly suspected C. difficile infection is unlikely to provide benefit to the patient and increases the risk of development of drug-resistant bacteria.

The most common adverse reactions reported in clinical trials are nausea (11%), vomiting (7%), abdominal pain (6%), gastrointestinal hemorrhage (4%), anemia (2%) and neutropenia (2%).

Among patients receiving DIFICID (fidaxomicin), 33 (5.9%) withdrew from trials as a result of adverse reactions. Vomiting was the primary adverse reaction leading to discontinuation of dosing (incidence of 0.5% for both DIFICID and vancomycin patients).

The safety and effectiveness of DIFICID in patients less than18 years of age have not been established.

The recommended dose of DIFICID is one 200 mg tablet orally twice daily for 10 days, with or without food.

No dose adjustment is recommended for patients 65 years of age or older.

No dose adjustment is recommended for patients with renal impairment.

No dosage adjustments are recommended when co-administering DIFICID with substrates of P-gp or CYP enzymes.

The impact of hepatic impairment on the pharmacokinetics of DIFICID has not been evaluated; however, because DIFICID and its active metabolite (OP-1118) do not appear to undergo significant hepatic metabolism, elimination of DIFICID and OP-1118 is not expected to be significantly affected by hepatic impairment.

Merck’s Commitment to Infectious Diseases

For more than 100 years, Merck has contributed to the discovery and development of novel medicines and vaccines to combat infectious diseases. In addition to a combined portfolio of antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal medicines, vaccines, and medicines for HIV and HCV, Merck has multiple programs that span discovery through late-stage development. To learn more about Merck’s infectious diseases pipeline, visit www.merck.com.

About Merck

For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world - including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA

This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the “company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. There can be no guarantees with respect to pipeline products that the products will receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that they will prove to be commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in the company’s 2018 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (www.sec.gov).

Please see U.S. Prescribing Information for DIFICID (fidaxomicin) at
https://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/d/dificid/dificid_pi.pdf, and Patient
Information for DIFICID (fidaxomicin) at
https://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/d/dificid/dificid_ppi.pdf.


1 Pant, Chaitanya. “Rising Incidence of Clostridium Difficile Related Discharges among Hospitalized Children in the United States.” Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, vol. 37, Jan. 2016, pp. 104–106.

2 The SUNSHINE Study was sponsored by Astellas Pharma Europe BV, Inc. and partially supported by Merck.

3 Lessa, Fernanda. “Burden of Clostridium difficile Infection in the United States.” The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 372, Feb. 2015, pp.825-834.

4 Ibid.

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