Saturday, October 15, 2011

Merck Blood Thinner Study Ends in Stroke Patients, Limiting Possible Sales

A study of Merck & Co.’s vorapaxar, an anticlotting pill that had potential for $5 billion in annual sales, was halted and a second trial narrowed in scope, limiting the drug’s possible use.
All participants will stop taking the drug in the trial of 13,000 patients who began the medicine at the time of a heart attack or chest pain, researchers at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston and the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, North Carolina, said today. A second study, of 26,500 patients with prior heart problems, will be stopped for the 25 percent who had suffered a stroke.
Shares of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey-based Merck declined the most since April 2009. Vorapaxar was touted by the company as its most promising experimental drug from the $49 billion purchase of Schering-Plough in November 2009. The company doesn’t know if it will be able to file for approval on the basis of a remaining study, for long-term clot prevention, said Peter Kim, president of Merck Research Laborato....