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Excellence in Rare Diseases and Orphan Drugs

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Highly Commended

Improving Patient Outcomes in Metastatic Merkel Cell Carcinoma (mMCC)

by Merck with support from Method

Summary of work

The introduction of Merck and Pfizer’s Bavencio (avelumab) was an important advance for adults with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (mMCC), a rare and aggressive form of skin cancer that affects 0.1 to 0.2 per 100,000 of the population. Treatment options had been historically limited to chemotherapy in metastatic disease, offering patients short-lived responses and recurrences typically within four to 15 months of treatment.

Our strategy was to use stakeholder insights to drive educational communications to improve early and appropriate biopsy, referral and diagnosis of people with MCC. Once diagnosed, we encouraged regular and vigilant follow-up to ensure metastatic disease (mMCC) could be identified at the earliest possible stage – the point at which Bavencio is most likely to provide optimal outcomes for patients and the healthcare system.

Starting January 2019, we executed an educational campaign to inform relevant specialties involved in non-specialist and specialist skin cancer MDTs. This was supported by the communication of expert opinion and sharing of real-world experiences to help improve understanding of the disease and its treatment.

As a result, 51 patients with mMCC have now been treated with Bavencio to give them the chance of improved outcomes, delivering meaningful improvements to patients and their families, and benefits to UK healthcare systems.

Judges' comments

This entry from Merck and method is a well thought through and well researched campaign. It has robust research analysis and insight, along with clear and well defined objectives. Focusing on a pathway hurdle, they were able to both support mMCC patients, but also their brand.


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Key dates

Entry deadline 26 August 2022
Extended entry deadline 2 September 2022*
*additional fee applies
Judging Day 6 October 2022
Company/Team of the Year Interviews 21 October 2022
PMEA Event 23 November 2022