Merck Animal Health Announces Availability of Novel Canine Oncology Therapy to Veterinary Specialists Practicing Oncology Nationwide

Gilvetmab Is Available to Veterinary Specialists Practicing Oncology to Treat Dogs with Mast Cell Tumors and Melanoma

Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside  of the United States and Canada, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, N.J., USA (NYSE:MRK), today announced that its caninized monoclonal antibody gilvetmab (gil-VET-mab) is now available to veterinary specialists practicing oncology across the United States. Gilvetmab previously received conditional license approval for the treatment of dogs with mast cell tumors and for treatment of dogs with melanoma by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB).

Developed exclusively for therapeutic use in dogs, gilvetmab is a checkpoint inhibitor that specifically targets PD-1, reactivating the dog’s immune system to recognize and fight cancer cells. Mast cell tumor is one of the most common types of cancer in dogs comprising 20% of skin cancer cases1, and melanoma accounts for approximately 7% of all malignant tumors in dogs2. During initial trials, gilvetmab resulted in tumor shrinkage or maintenance of stable disease in 73% of dogs with mast cell tumor and 60% of dogs with melanoma over the course of the 20-week trial3.

“As an industry leader with vast research knowledge and scientific expertise in the immunotherapy field, we’re proud to announce the availability of gilvetmab to veterinary oncologists,” said Ian Tarpey, vice president, Research and Development, Merck Animal Health. “This new treatment adds a pioneering innovation to the field of veterinary oncology and elevates our extensive portfolio of veterinary medicines, vaccines, and technology solutions, further demonstrating our ongoing commitment to The Science of Healthier Animals.

“At Merck Animal Health, we are committed to delivering technology, products and services that help improve the health and wellbeing of animals, including the beloved dogs in our homes,” said Laura Greene, DVM, DACVIM, senior professional services veterinarian and national internal medicine expert, Merck Animal Health. “With the availability of gilvetmab, a first-in-class monoclonal antibody, veterinary specialists practicing oncology now have a new option to treat dogs with mast cell tumor or melanoma. We look forward to working with the veterinary professionals who are pioneering the integration of this novel immunotherapy into their treatment plans.” 

As Merck Animal Health enters the emerging field of canine oncology, gilvetmab will be administered by veterinary specialists practicing oncology. For clinics and veterinary professionals looking to learn more information about gilvetmab, please visit Merck Animal Health’s website.

In addition, the Gilvetmab Product Grant Program provides support to veterinary specialists practicing oncology seeking to better understand the role of Merck Animal Health’s conditionally licensed gilvetmab in various clinical scenarios. If you are interested in details on how to participate in ongoing clinical trials involving gilvetmab and dogs with stage III melanoma, please visit Melanoma Archives – Animal Clinical Investigation (

About Merck Animal Health

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 a century, we’ve been at the forefront of research, bringing forward medicines, vaccines and innovative health solutions for the world’s most challenging diseases. Merck Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, N.J., USA, is the global animal health business of Merck. Through its commitment to The Science of Healthier Animals®, Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, producers, pet owners and governments one of the widest ranges of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services as well as an extensive suite of connected technology that includes identification, traceability and monitoring products. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals and the people who care for them. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit and connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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 (

Media Contacts:

Laurel Mundth
(908) 872-9783    



  1. Willmann M. et al. Comparative oncology: The paradigmatic example of canine and human mast cell neoplasms. Vet Compar Oncol. 2019;17:1-10.
  2. A Comparative Review of Melanocytic Neoplasms. S. H. Smith, M. H. Goldschmidt, and P. M. McManus. Veterinary Pathology 2002; 39:6, 651-678.
  3. Morsey, M., Stock, M., Boeckh, A., Lehmann, H. (2021, June 9-12). An Anti-Canine PD-1 Monoclonal Antibody for Immunotherapy of Cancer in Dogs [Poster presentation]. 2021 ACVIM Forum, Virtual.