Merck Enters The Alzheimer’s Disease Race, Plans Filings For Five New Drugs
This article was originally published in The Pink Sheet Daily
As Merck heads into a “patent cliff” year, highlights of its analyst meeting included updates on key Phase III drugs, growth in emerging markets, and unveiling of new programs in Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.
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With the termination of a Phase II trial of LY2887621, Merck’s MK-8931 leads the race to become the first BACE inhibitor approved for Alzheimer’s, although four other companies have similar candidates in earlier stages of development. Lilly says it may continue to pursue BACE inhibition in Alzheimer’s.
Merck announced its potential first-in-class dual orexin receptor antagonist suvorexant successfully completed a second Phase III trial, apparently without safety concerns that led Actelion/GlaxoSmithKline to drop their DORA almorexant a year ago on Phase III results.
The Januvia/Janumet franchise posted sales growth of 40% both in the fourth quarter and over the full year for Merck, while Isentress and Gardasil also posted strong growth rates.