Merck and Moderna detail the progress of a potential skin cancer vaccine
COVID vaccine maker Moderna on Tuesday said a possible melanoma vaccine it is studying with pharmaceutical giant Merck fared well in a small study of patients who had the cancer surgically removed.
The drugmakers said a combination of the vaccine and Merck’s immunotherapy Keytruda led to a statistically significant improvement in survival before the cancer returned in patients with advanced melanoma.
Like Moderna's COVID shot, the potential skin cancer vaccine uses mRNA technology. It trains a patient’s immune system to recognize and respond specifically to mutations in the DNA of the patient’s tumor.
“We are very excited, we are moving very quickly with Merck onto phase 3 for this study,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told CNBC Tuesday morning.
Phase 3 is generally the largest and most expensive stage of clinical research before regulators review a potential drug for approval.