FILE PHOTO: The Merck logo is seen at a gate to the Merck & Co campus in Linden, New Jersey, U.S., July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidMore

(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Merck & Co Inc’s cancer therapy, Keytruda, as part of a combination therapy for previously untreated patients with the most common type of kidney cancer, the company said on Monday.

The drug was approved in combination with Pfizer Inc’s Inlyta to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma.

The approval, which comes two months ahead of expectations, allows this combination therapy to get an early launch ahead of other rival products, Cowen analyst Yaron Werber said, after the company received FDA approval on Friday.

The Keytruda/Inlyta combination could provide serious competition for Bristol-Myers Squibb

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