Dow's Merck Bails On Cholesterol Drug, Prodding Shares Down

Dow's Merck Bails On Cholesterol Drug, Prodding Shares Down

Dow component Merck ( MRK ) said late Wednesday that it won’t submit applications for approval of a cholesterol drug, following a review of its clinical profile – prodding shares to fall in after-hours trading.

[ibd-display-video id=2350371 width=50 float=left autostart=true]Merck’s drug, anacetrapib, was being investigated as a treatment for high blood pressure and to prevent cardiovascular disease. In June, Merck said the drug proved effective in reducing major cardiovascular events in patients already receiving LDL cholesterol-lowering drugs.

But Merck also found in earlier studies, as well as in the recently announced Phase 3 trial called Reveal, that anacetrapib accumulated in fat tissue.

“We are deeply grateful to the researchers and patients who participated in the anacetrapib clinical development program, and in particular the Reveal outcomes study,” Merck Research Laboratories President Robert Perlmutter said in a prepared statement. “Unfortunately, after comprehensive evaluation, we have concluded that the clinical profile of anacetrapib does not support regulatory filings.”

IBD’S TAKE: Merck has been in a base since March of this year, hovering between 61 and 67. Shares would have to reach 66.90 a share to be considered back in buy range .

In after-hours trading, Merck fell 0.2% after closing down nearly 1.1%, at 63.78.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs have been in the news frequently with Amgen ( AMGN ) and a partnership between Regeneron Pharmaceuticals ( REGN ) and Sanofi ( SNY ) battling it out in patent court. Amgen argues that Regeneron and Sanofi infringed on its patents covering its drug, Repatha. Regeneron and Sanofi make a rival drug, Praluent.

In August, Esperion Therapeutics ( ESPR ) popped to a nearly two-year high after bumping up its timeline by a quarter – to file applications with the Food and Drug Administration for two cholesterol-lowering drugs in the first quarter of 2019.

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