Merck presents pipeline update to analysts

At a meeting with investors yesterday, Merck highlighted several of its late-stage pipeline hopes. One of the most-watched drug candidates in Merck pipeline, of course, is anacetrapib--a drug in the same class as Pfizer's failed torcetrapib. Investors are waiting to see whether the potential blockbuster can succeed where Pfizer's drug failed. Merck officials assured analysts that torcetrapib's flame-out wasn't indicative of problems with the entire class of CETP inhibitors. Phase III trials of anacetrapib are planned for 2008.

Among other pipeline hopes is Merck's obesity drug taranabant, which is in Phase III and could be up for FDA approval in 2008. Taranabant is in the same class of drugs as Sanofi-Aventis' Acomplia, which has thus far failed to gain approval in the U.S. Merck is expecting an FDA decision on NDAs for Emend for Injection and Cordaptive, a cholesterol drug that combines a known ingredient with a new one that reduces the risk of flushing. Also in 2008, Merck anticipates filing an NDA for MK-0524B, simvastatin combined with laropiprant and extended-release niacin.

- see this release from Merck
- see the company's update on its pipeline

ALSO: Get more on Merck's Phase III candidates. Report

PLUS: In reviewing Merck's application to convert Mevacor to over-the-counter, FDA staff said it wasn't clear whether consumers could use the statin safely and effectively. But the agency didn't say consumers clearly couldn't, either. Report

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