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Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)/Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ARIA) Fails to Win FDA OK for Sarcoma Drug


6/6/2012 6:53:00 AM

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., Jun 05, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a complete response letter regarding the New Drug Application (NDA) for ridaforolimus. Ridaforolimus is an investigational oral mTOR inhibitor under development for maintenance therapy for patients with metastatic soft tissue or bone sarcoma who have stable disease or better after four or more cycles of chemotherapy.

The complete response letter states that FDA cannot approve the application in its present form, and that additional clinical trial(s) would need to be conducted to further assess safety and efficacy. Merck also is in ongoing discussions with health authorities in Europe and other countries as part of their application procedures for ridaforolimus for the treatment of metastatic soft-tissue or bone sarcomas in patients who had a favorable response to chemotherapy. Additionally, Merck is studying ridaforolimus in combination with other mechanisms in several tumor types.

"Merck remains confident in the potential of ridaforolimus," said Eric Rubin, M.D., vice president, Clinical Research Oncology, Merck. "We will continue to work closely with the FDA to define potential paths forward for this investigational therapy."

Sarcomas are a group of cancers of connective tissue of the body for which there are currently limited treatment options. Sarcomas can arise anywhere in the body and are divided into two main groups -- bone tumors and soft-tissue sarcomas.

Ridaforolimus is an investigational small-molecule inhibitor of the protein mTOR, a protein that acts as a central regulator of protein synthesis, cell proliferation, cell cycle progression and cell survival, integrating signals from proteins, such as PI3K, AKT and PTEN, known to be important to malignancy.

As part of an exclusive license agreement with ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc /quotes/zigman/57221/quotes/nls/aria ARIA +3.65% , Merck is responsible for the development and worldwide commercialization of ridaforolimus in oncology.

About Merck

Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Merck Forward-Looking Statement

This news release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements may include, but are not limited to, statements about the benefits of the merger between Merck and Schering-Plough, including future financial and operating results, the combined company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical facts. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck's management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements: the possibility that all of the expected synergies from the merger of Merck and Schering-Plough will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; Merck's ability to accurately predict future market conditions; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck's patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation and/or regulatory actions.

Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Merck's 2011 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC's Internet site ( www.sec.gov ).

SOURCE: Merck

Merck

Media:

Pam Eisele, 908-423-5042

Catherine Cantone, 908-423-5399

or

Investor:

Carol Ferguson, 908-423-4465


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