The Market Has Already Discounted Merck’s New Drug
Merck (MRK) issued an announcement last week that its phase III trial for osteoporosis drug, Odanacatib, would end ahead of schedule, as the drug has shown to be highly effective. The Data Monitoring Committee for the study has said that it has completed its analysis and recommended that the study be closed early due to robust efficacy and a favorable benefit-risk profile. As a result of this, Merck will begin taking steps to close trial.
This oral drug is considered to have better effect than its older class of osteoporosis drug known as bisphosphonates. Since the emergence of generic competitions, Merck’s drug Fosamax has experienced declines, coming from annual sales of $3 billion in 2007. Odanacatib is formulated to block capthesin K, the major enzyme in osteoclasts. These enzymes are responsible for the breakdown of existing bone tissue.
The committee conducted the phase III randomized, placebo-controlled trial to more than 16,000 patients. It concluded the safety and efficacy of the drug in the reducing fracture risk in post-menopausal women with osteoporosis. This was a positive surprise to the investors, as well the company. It previously announced that it will conduct a blinded extension trial which will allow further monitoring of these issues and continue measuring the efficacy of the drug.
From these results, it will take months before it can complete and close out the trials. The final assessment will include large and multi-center trials at 387 sites in 40 countries.To continue reading, click here.