7/13/2012 7:41:12 AM
Last night, Merck issued some surprising news about an experimental drug being developed to treat osteoperosis. A Phase III trial was ended early after the study of more than 16,000 patients, which began in 2007, met its primary efficacy outcomes, although the Data Monitoring Committee noted that safety issues remain in certain selected areas and a previously planned blinded extension trial will be needed to sort these out. The complete results will not be known for awhile, but the news was greeted as a pleasant surprise by investors, who have been cautious about the Merck pipeline and drove its stock up more than 4 percent by midday today. The new drug, called odanacatib, could become a much-needed successor to Fosamax, another osteoperosis drug in the bisophosponate class that generated $3 billion in annual sales before its patent expired four years ago.
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