The drug: Vicriviroc
The disease: HIV
The company: Merck
Back when Schering-Plough was pushing vicriviroc up the pipeline, CEO Fred Hassan boldly predicted that the HIV therapy was headed for a regulatory filing in early 2010 and would go on to reap as much as $750 million in 2013. And Merck was just as upbeat about its chances when the drug giant bought out Schering-Plough.
So much for bold predictions in the development business. In early 2010 Merck researchers explained that two Phase III trials of vicriviroc, a CCR5 co-receptor antagonist designed to block the virus from penetrating cells, failed to hit the primary endpoint among patients taking a drug cocktail.
A few months later, when the drug failed a study involving treatment-naïve patients, Merck killed the development program.