Merck takes $30M hit in fresh vernakalant write-off

Merck ($MRK) has agreed to write off $30 million of the $50 million its one-time partner Cardiome Pharma owed the pharma giant. Cardiome borrowed the money under a credit facility that Merck set up when they partnered on vernakalant, which had been designed to treat atrial fibrillation. The biotech will now pay $20 million to resolve the debt. "Complete resolution of our $50 million debt obligation to Merck removes a significant financial and operational overhang for Cardiome," said William Hunter, interim CEO of Cardiome. Cardiome axed 85% of its staff last July, when Merck made clear it wouldn't push ahead on the program. Story