- After passing an interim safety analysis, Merck's (MRK -0.6%) investigational BACE inhibitor MK-8931 will move into Phase 3 testing for the treatment of Alzheimer's.
- MRK will also begin a Phase 3 study in early-stage prodromal patients.
- This marks the first time a drug in this class has made it to Phase 3 trials, the company notes. A JPMorgan analyst cited by Reuters says the drug could see sales of $5B if it is eventually approved.
- The news is of interest to Ligand Pharmaceuticals (LGND +0.7%) which would receive royalties on the product.
- Here's Cantor's Irina Rivkind commenting: "We view this program as high risk given the failure rate in prior Alzheimer's compounds but do think that program progression removes an overhang from LGND."
Merck advances Alzheimer's treatment into Phase 3 clinicals
Dec 10 2013, 13:04 ET