Merck's osteoporosis drug performs in Phase II

Merck's experimental osteoporosis drug odanacatib turned in positive results in a Phase II trial. The drug reduced measures of bone turnover (breakdown and rebuilding of bone) in women with breast cancer that has spread to the bones. Odanacatib beat out Novartis's med Zometam in the trial.

Odanacatib inhibits cathepsin K enzyme, which plays a key role in breaking down the protein in bone. By inhibiting cathepsin K activity, odanacatib could offer a different approach for treating metastatic bone disease.

"Based on these findings, larger Phase III studies using the 5 mg daily dose of odanacatib are being planned for patients with breast and prostate cancer," said Antonio Lombardi, M.D., senior director, Merck Research Laboratories.

- check out Merck's release for more
- read the BusinessWeek article