Merck & Co Inc.

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  • Yesterday, 8:11 AM
    • The FDA approves Lannett Company's (NYSE:LCI) temozolomide capsules, its generic equivalent to Merck's (NYSE:MRK) chemo drug Temodar Capsules. According to IMS, annual U.S. sales of the branded product are ~$206M wholesale.
    | Yesterday, 8:11 AM | 8 Comments
  • Yesterday, 7:21 AM
    • Incyte (NASDAQ:INCY) terminates its Phase 3 clinical trial assessing Jakafi (ruxolitinib), in combination with chemo agent capecitabine, for the second-line treatment of advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer after an interim analysis failed to show sufficient efficacy.
    • Based on these data and the interim analysis of the Phase 2 sub-study of Jakafi, in combination with Bayer's (OTCPK:BAYRY) STIVARGA (regorafenib), in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer and high C-reactive protein (CRP), the company will stop all Jakafi studies in solid tumors, including Phase 2 trials in breast and lung cancer. It will also discontinue its dose-finding study of INCB39110 ( a selective JAK1 inhibitor) as first-line treatment for pancreatic cancer.
    • Data from all the discontinued trials will be analyzed and shared with the scientific community over the next few months.
    • Ongoing studies of Jakafi and selective JAK1 inhibitors in hematology will continue as will those assessing selective JAK1 inhibition in solid tumors based on different hypotheses. These include a series of studies evaluating INCB39110 in combination with Merck's (NYSE:MRK) KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) and Incyte's epacadostat and INCB50465. A Phase 1/2 trial will also be conducted assessing INCB39110 plus AstraZeneca's (NYSE:AZN) TAGRISSO (osimertinib).
    • Jakafi is a JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor cleared in the U.S. for the treatment of a type of blood cancer called polycythemia vera and a bone marrow disorder called myelofibrosis.
    • Shares are off 10% premarket on light volume.
    | Yesterday, 7:21 AM
  • Thu, Feb. 4, 11:01 AM
    • ImmunoGen (IMGN +9.7%) establishes a clinical research collaboration with Merck (MRK -1.4%) to evaluate the combination of IMGN's mirvetuximab soravtansine and Keytruda (pembrolizumab) for the treatment of patients with folate receptor (FR) alpha-positive ovarian cancer. The combination therapy will be added to IMGN's Phase 1b/2 clinical trial called FORWARD II. The agreement, through a Merck subsidiary, includes an option to expand the collaboration to include a Phase 3 study if the results are positive.
    • Mirventuximab soravtansine is an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) that contains a monoclonal antibody (mirventuximab) that binds to FRalpha-positive tumor cells thereby delivering its cytotoxic payload, soravtansine or DM4.
    • KEYTRUDA helps the immune system fight tumor cells by blocking the interaction between PD-1, a cell surface receptor expressed on T cells and pro-B cells, and its ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2. PD-1 is an immune checkpoint which down regulates the immune system. Blocking its action activates the immune system to attack cancer cells.
    | Thu, Feb. 4, 11:01 AM
  • Thu, Feb. 4, 9:50 AM
    • The FDA approves Merck's (MRK -1.9%) supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for single-dose EMEND (fosaprepitant dimeglumine) for injection, in combination with other antiemetic medicines, for the prevention of delayed nausea and vomiting in adults receiving moderately emetogenic chemotherapy. It is the first intravenous single-dose NK1 receptor antagonist approved in the U.S.
    • A one-to-three-day IV formulation was cleared in February 2008.
    | Thu, Feb. 4, 9:50 AM | 2 Comments
  • Wed, Feb. 3, 7:10 AM
    • Merck (NYSE:MRK) Q4 results ($M): Total Revenues: 10,215 (-2.5%); Pharmaceutical: 9,027 (-3.7%); Animal Health: 830 (-6.2%).
    • Net Income: 976 (-86.7%); EPS: 0.35 (-86.2%); Non-GAAP EPS: 0.93 (+6.9%).
    • Key Product Sales: Januvia: 921 (-14.9%); Zetia: 691 (+4.4%); Gardisil: 497 (+39.6%); Janumet: 526 (-7.7%); Remicade: 396 (-28.9%); Isentress: 374 (-10.5%); Keytruda: 214 (+328%); Cubicin: 322 (+999%); Vytorin: 308 (-16.8%).
    • 2016 Guidance: Revenues: $38.7B - 40.2B; EPS: $1.96 - 2.23; Non-GAAP EPS: $3.60 - 3.75.
    • Shares are off a fraction premarket.
    | Wed, Feb. 3, 7:10 AM | 1 Comment
  • Wed, Feb. 3, 6:49 AM
    • Merck (NYSE:MRK): Q4 EPS of $0.93 beats by $0.02.
    • Revenue of $10.21B (-2.6% Y/Y) misses by $140M.
    • Press Release
    | Wed, Feb. 3, 6:49 AM
  • Tue, Feb. 2, 5:30 PM
    | Tue, Feb. 2, 5:30 PM | 4 Comments
  • Tue, Feb. 2, 8:20 AM
    • The FDA grants preliminary approval of Impax Laboratories' (NASDAQ:IPXL) generic version of Merck's (NYSE:MRK) cholesterol med VYTORIN (ezetimibe and simvastatin) in the 10/10, 10/20, 10/40 and 10/80 mg strengths. According to IMS Health, U.S. sales for the four strengths in 2015 were $714M.
    • Preliminary approval means that the New Drug Application meets all the quality, safety and efficacy standards for clearance but is subject to an automatic stay of final approval for up to 30 months pending the resolution of a patent infringement suit.
    • Shares are up 19% premarket but only on turnover of 100.
    | Tue, Feb. 2, 8:20 AM
  • Tue, Feb. 2, 8:02 AM
    | Tue, Feb. 2, 8:02 AM | 16 Comments
  • Fri, Jan. 29, 12:55 PM
    • Although, Merck (MRK +2.4%) is playing catch-up to Gilead Sciences (GILD -4.9%) and AbbVie (ABBV -3.2%), analysts say Zepatier (elbasvir/grazoprevir) could still pull in $2B+ in peak sales by 2020, considering the company's likely strategy of focusing on particular HCV niches like patients with kidney problems or those receiving opioid antagonist therapy to treat their addiction.
    • The company has set Zepatier's list price at $54,600 for a 12-week regimen, significantly under Gilead's Harvoni at $94,500 and AbbVie's Viekira Pak at $83,319, although the net prices, assuming ~10% discount off Merck's drug, will be roughly in line considering the more significant discounting by the others.
    • Merck's pricing will certainly not be an issue as it seeks inclusion onto commercial formularies. One more competitor, though, should lead to more interesting battles over pricing as contracts come up for renewal, particularly in the PBM space.
    | Fri, Jan. 29, 12:55 PM | 38 Comments
  • Thu, Jan. 28, 6:08 PM
    | Thu, Jan. 28, 6:08 PM | 54 Comments
  • Wed, Jan. 27, 3:30 PM
    • As if biotech investors need reminding, biotechs (and healthcare stocks) are getting some rude treatment today, the market's foul mood notwithstanding. The Nasdaq Composite Index is down 2.5%,but the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI -4.7%) almost twice as much. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB -3.5%) is faring a bit better, but still down more than the broad market.
    • Only Biogen and Abbott have bucked the trend.
    • Sample of tickers: (AMGN -2.5%)(BIIB +5.7%)(CELG -3.9%)(GILD -3.3%)(ALXN -1.2%)(ABT +0.3%)(BMY -1.8%)(MRK -3%)(VRX -4%)(PFE -0.9%)
    • ETFs: BIB, BIS, CNCR
    | Wed, Jan. 27, 3:30 PM | 60 Comments
  • Wed, Jan. 27, 9:02 AM
    • The FDA accepts for review Merck's (NYSE:MRK) Biologics License Application (BLA) seeking clearance of bezlotoxumab for the prevention of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection recurrence. The agency's action date (PDUFA) is July 23.
    • The company's marketing application in Europe is also under review.
    • Bezlotoxumab is a human monoclonal antibody that is designed to work as an antitoxin by neutralizing C. diff toxin B, which can damage the gut wall and cause inflammation, leading to C.diff-associated diarrhea. It is co-administered with standard-of-care antibiotics.
    • C. diff infection is one of the most common hospital inpatient-associated infections in the U.S. It's very stubborn and recurs frequently. There are no currently approved therapies for preventing recurrence.
    | Wed, Jan. 27, 9:02 AM | 1 Comment
  • Tue, Jan. 26, 12:13 PM
    • The FDA's PDUFA date for its Priority Review of Merck's (MRK +1.1%) once-daily, single-tablet combination therapy, grazoprevir/elbasvir (100 mg/50mg), for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C infection (HCV) genotypes 1,4 or 6 is Thursday.
    • The Breakthrough Therapy-tagged product candidate is a combination of an NS3/4A protease inhibitor (grazoprevir) and an NS5A replication complex inhibitor (elbasvir). In clinical studies, it demonstrated HCV cure rates as high as 100% after eight weeks of treatment.
    • The action date by European regulators is mid-year.
    • Previously: Merck's marketing application for HCV combo elbasvir/grazoprevir in Europe gets slower standard review (Dec. 18, 2015)
    | Tue, Jan. 26, 12:13 PM | 1 Comment
  • Mon, Jan. 25, 6:50 AM
    • Affimed N.V. (NASDAQ:AFMD) and a subsidiary of Merck (NYSE:MRK) establish a clinical trial collaboration whereby Merck will supply KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) to Affimed in a Phase 1b clinical trial assessing the combination of the PD-1 inhibitor and Affimed's lead product candidate AFM13 for the treatment of patients with Hodgkin lymphoma whose disease has relapsed or is refractory to chemotherapy, including treatment with Takeda (OTCPK:TKPHF)(OTCPK:TKPYY) and Seattle Genetics' (NASDAQ:SGENADCETRIS (brentuximab vedotin). The objective of the study, to be conducted by Affimed and expected to commence in H1, is to establish a dosing regimen of the combo as well as its safety and efficacy.
    • In preclinical patient derived xenograft models, the combination eradicated up to 90% of tumors. The collaboration may expand to include a Phase 3 trial if the Phase 1b is successful.
    • AFM13 is a bispecific antibody that binds to a protein expressed in a range of T-cell and B-cell lymphomas called CD30 and to a protein expressed on the immune system's natural killer cells called CD16A, both of which play key roles in the activation of the immune system to detect and kill cancer cells.
    • Shares are up 13% premarket on average volume.
    | Mon, Jan. 25, 6:50 AM
  • Thu, Jan. 21, 9:56 AM
    • Regulus Therapeutics (RGLS -4.2%) announces that enrollment is now complete  in its Phase 2 clinical trial assessing the combination of RG-101 with multiple approved direct-acting antivirals [Gilead's HARVONI (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir), J&J's OLYSIO (simeprevir), Bristol-Myers' Daklinza (daclatasvir)] in treatment-naive patients with HCV infection, genotypes 1 or 4.
    • 78 patients have been randomized to receive a single subcutaneous injection of 2mg/kg of RG-101 followed by 28 days of once-daily oral antivirals (one of the three) followed by another subcutaneous injection of 2 mg/kg of RG-101 on Day 29. Interim results should be available in mid-February. Primary endpoint results (SVR12) should be announced in late Q2.
    • The company says its ultimate goal is to develop a single-visit combination therapy for HCV infection.
    • Related tickers: (GILD -0.9%)(ABBV +0.7%)(MRK -0.3%)(JNJ -1.1%)(BMY -0.9%)
    | Thu, Jan. 21, 9:56 AM | 1 Comment
Company Description
Merck & Co Inc is a health care company that delivers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products.