FDA Grants Priority Review to Merck’s New Biologics License Application for V116, an Investigational, 21-valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Specifically Designed to Protect Adults

FDA Grants Priority Review to Merck’s New Biologics License Application for V116, an Investigational, 21-valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Specifically Designed to Protect Adults




FDA Grants Priority Review to Merck’s New Biologics License Application for V116, an Investigational, 21-valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Specifically Designed to Protect Adults

Acceptance based on results from multiple Phase 3 trials

If approved, V116 would be the first pneumococcal conjugate vaccine specifically designed for adults

The 21 serotypes covered by V116 are responsible for approximately 83% of invasive pneumococcal disease in individuals 65 and older, according to CDC data from 2018-2021

RAHWAY, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–$MRK #MRK–Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted for priority review a new Biologics License Application (BLA) for V116, the company’s investigational 21-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine specifically designed to help prevent invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumococcal pneumonia in adults. The FDA grants priority review to medicines and vaccines that, if approved, would provide a significant improvement in the safety or effectiveness of the treatment or prevention of a serious condition. The FDA has set a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), or target action date, of June 17, 2024.

Invasive pneumococcal disease poses a greater risk to older adults or those with weakened immune systems, in part due to disease-causing serotypes not covered by currently licensed pneumococcal conjugate vaccines,” said Dr. Eliav Barr, senior vice president, head of global clinical development and chief medical officer, Merck Research Laboratories. “If approved, V116 would be the first pneumococcal conjugate vaccine specifically designed to address the serotypes that cause most adult invasive pneumococcal disease. We look forward to discussing the data that support our filing with the FDA and are working with urgency to bring this potential new preventative measure to adult patients.”


The BLA for V116 is based, in part, on data from STRIDE-3, a pivotal Phase 3 trial which evaluated the immunogenicity, tolerability and safety of V116 compared to PCV20 (pneumococcal 20-valent conjugate vaccine) in adults who had not previously received a pneumococcal vaccine. Results from the STRIDE-3 trial were presented at the World Vaccine Congress West Coast in November 2023. The BLA for V116 is supported by results from multiple Phase 3 clinical studies evaluating V116 in both vaccine-naïve and vaccine-experienced adult patient populations, including STRIDE-3, STRIDE-4, STRIDE-5 and STRIDE-6. Results from additional trials will be shared with the scientific community at future congresses. An overview of the V116 late-stage development program is available here.

According to CDC data from 2018-2021, the serotypes covered by V116 are responsible for approximately 83% of invasive pneumococcal disease in individuals 65 years of age and older. V116 includes eight unique serotypes not covered by currently licensed pneumococcal vaccines, which were responsible for approximately 30% of invasive pneumococcal disease in individuals 65 years of age and older, based on the same CDC data.

About V116

V116 is an investigational, 21-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in Phase 3 development for the prevention of invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumococcal pneumonia in the adult population. V116 is specifically designed to address Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes predominantly responsible for adult pneumococcal disease, including eight unique serotypes,15A, 15C, 16F, 23A, 23B, 24F, 31 and 35B, which account for approximately 30% of adult disease, according to CDC data from 2018-2021. The serotypes covered by V116 are responsible for approximately 83% of invasive pneumococcal disease in individuals 65 years of age and older, based on the same CDC data. V116 is designed to be administered as a single dose to help prevent invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumococcal pneumonia in adults.

The V116 Phase 3 program includes multiple studies, including STRIDE-3 (NCT05425732), STRIDE-4 (NCT05464420), STRIDE-5 (NCT05526716), STRIDE-6 (NCT05420961), STRIDE-7 (NCT05393037), STRIDE-8 (NCT05696080), STRIDE-9 (NCT05633992) and STRIDE-10 (NCT05569954).

About Pneumococcal Disease

Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae. There are more than 100 different types (referred to as serotypes) of pneumococcal bacteria, which can affect adults differently than children. Certain serotypes threaten to put more people at risk for invasive pneumococcal illnesses, such as bacteremia (infection in the bloodstream); bacteremic pneumonia (pneumonia with bacteremia); and meningitis (infection of the coverings of the brain and spinal cord), as well as non-invasive pneumonia (when pneumococcal disease is confined to the lungs).

While healthy adults can suffer from pneumococcal disease, patient populations particularly vulnerable to infection include older adults and those with certain chronic or immunocompromising health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease and liver disease. Mortality from invasive pneumococcal disease is highest among adults 50 years of age and older.

Merck’s Commitment to Pneumococcal Disease Protection

Merck has been at the forefront of pneumococcal disease prevention through vaccination for more than four decades and remains committed to helping to protect people of all ages from this disease. Merck’s ongoing pneumococcal vaccine development program is designed to provide options to address the specific needs of different populations, including infants and children, healthy adults and at-risk subgroups. This approach recognizes that disease burden in pediatric and adult populations is often driven by different bacterial strains, or serotypes, and aims to address unmet needs by offering vaccine options that target serotypes posing the greatest global risk to each population. To learn more about Merck’s pipeline, visit https://www.merck.com.

About Merck

At Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, we are unified around our purpose: We use the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world. For more than 130 years, we have brought hope to humanity through the development of important medicines and vaccines. We aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world – and today, we are at the forefront of research to deliver innovative health solutions that advance the prevention and treatment of diseases in people and animals. We foster a diverse and inclusive global workforce and operate responsibly every day to enable a safe, sustainable and healthy future for all people and communities. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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

This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, 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 candidates that the candidates 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 the global outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19); 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 Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022 and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (www.sec.gov).

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