Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Finds Its Phase II Candidates for Sale on the Internet
6/5/2012 8:34:36 AM
Via Pharmalot, it appears that a former WuXi employee helped himself to samples of two Merck Phase II clinical candidates that were under evaluation. The samples were then offered for sale. Here's a link to a Google Translate version of a Chinese news report. It looks like gram quantities were involved, along with NMR spectra, with the compounds being provided to a middleman. It's not clear who bought them from him, but the article gives the impression that someone did, was satisfied with the transaction, and wanted more. But in the meantime, Merck did pick up on an offer made by this middleman to sell one of the compounds online, and immediately went after him, which unraveled the whole scheme. (The machine translation is pretty rocky, but I did appreciate that an idiom came through: it mentions that having these valuable samples in an unlocked cabinet was like putting fish in front of a cat).