Merck shares hammered after FDA rejects Cordaptive

Shares of Merck were sliding again this morning on the news that the FDA has turned thumbs down on MK-0524A, its new cholesterol therapy. The stock dropped eight percent after regulators announced that the experimental therapy, a combination of niacin and laropiprant that had been high up on the drug giant's list of potential blockbusters, failed to make the grade. Getting an approval on Cordaptive, as the therapy was dubbed, would have gone a long way to easing the sting from the massive fallout that has hit Merck since new Vytorin data cast doubt on its efficacy.

"We plan to meet with the FDA and to submit additional information to enable the agency to further evaluate the benefit/risk profile of MK-0524A," said Peter Kim, executive vice president of the company and president of Merck Research Laboratories, in a prepared statement.

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