Merck & Co Inc.NYSE
Advanced Chart
  • Yesterday, 5:51 PM
    • The FDA approves Merck's (NYSE:MRK) bezlotoxumab, branded as ZINPLAVA, to reduce the recurrence of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection (CDI) in adult patients who are receiving antibacterial treatment and are at high risk of CDI recurrence. ZINPLAVA should only be used in conjunction with antibacterial therapy since it is not indicated for the treatment of CDI.
    • In June, the FDA's Advisory Committee voted 10-5 backing approval. Commercial launch will commence in Q1.
    • Bezlotoxumab is a monoclonal antibody that specifically binds to C. diff toxin B, neutralizing its activity by preventing it from binding to host cells. Merck licensed it from Medarex in 2009.
    | Yesterday, 5:51 PM | 2 Comments
  • Fri, Oct. 21, 7:16 AM
    • A Phase 3 clinical trial, KEYNOTE-045, assessing Merck's (NYSE:MRK) PD-1 inhibitor KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) in treatment-experienced patients with advance urothelial cancer has been stopped early after the independent Data Monitoring Committee determined that the study met its primary endpoint of overall survival (OS).
    • KEYNOTE-045 is a 542-subject, randomized study evaluating KEYTRUDA as monotherapy compared to investigator choice chemotherapy (paclitaxel, docetaxel, vinflunine) in patients with metastatic or locally advanced/unresectable urothelial cancer that has progressed following platinum-based chemo. The co-primary endpoints are OS and progression-free survival (PFS). Secondary endpoints are overall response rate (ORR), duration of response (DOR) and safety. Participants were randomized to receive either 200 mg of KEYTRUDA every three weeks or investigator-choice chemo every three weeks.
    • Detailed results will be submitted for presentation at a future medical conference.
    • KEYTRUDA is Merck's fastest growing drug. It is currently approved for the treatment of melanoma, head and neck cancer and lung cancer. It is in clinical development for the treatment of more than 30 tumor types in more than 360 clinical trials.
    | Fri, Oct. 21, 7:16 AM | 3 Comments
  • Wed, Oct. 19, 7:25 AM
    • A Phase 3 clinical trial assessing Merck's (NYSE:MRK) letermovir (MK-8228) for preventing clinically significant cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection in CMV-seropositive adults who have undergone an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) met its primary endpoint of a statistically valid percentage of patients with clinically significant CMV infection up to 24 weeks after HSCT. Full results will be submitted for presentation at a future scientific conference.
    • The study enrolled 540 subjects who received letermovir once daily either in an oral tablet or intravenously. Therapy was begun as early as the same day as the HSCT and no later than 28 days post-transplant and continued for ~100 days.
    • Letermovir is a 3,4 dihydro-quinazoline which is a new class of non-nucleoside CMV inhibitors. It inhibits viral replication by targeting the viral terminase complex. It has Orphan Drug status in the U.S., Europe and Japan and Fast Track status in the U.S.
    • Merck acquired global rights to letermovir in 2012 in a deal with AiCuris GmbH & Co. KG.
    | Wed, Oct. 19, 7:25 AM
  • Tue, Oct. 18, 9:30 AM
    • Merck's (NYSE:MRK) Keytruda may get used more broadly than expected, with uptake in first-line lung cancer likely being “very rapid,” Bernstein says.
    • Firm cites post-ESMO survey of 130 U.S./EU oncologists.
    • Says Keytruda should gain market share in second-line lung cancer due to “halo effect.”
    • Bernstein adds that the market perception of Bristol-Myers's (NYSE:BMY) Opdivo is “substantially diminished.”
    • Price target on MRK is $74. Implied upside 19.4%.
    | Tue, Oct. 18, 9:30 AM | 8 Comments
  • Fri, Oct. 14, 6:49 AM
    • Merck (NYSE:MRK) upgraded to Buy from Neutral by Bank of America. Price target raised to $70 (12% upside) from $57.
    • HCA Holdings (NYSE:HCA) upgraded to Overweight from Sector Weight by KeyBanc.
    • Momenta Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:MNTA) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight by Barclays. Price target raised to $19 (54% upside) from $13.
    • TESARO (NASDAQ:TSRO) upgraded to Buy from Neutral with a $123 (6% upside) price target by Bank of America.
    • Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $36 (10% upside) price target by Jefferies.
    • Theravance Biopharma (NASDAQ:TBPH) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral by Baird. Price target raised to $24 (25% downside risk) from $19.
    • Ilumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) downgraded to Sell from Neutral by Janney Montgomery Scott. Price target lowered to $125 (9% downside risk) from $155. Downgraded to Neutral from Buy by Citigroup. Price target lowered to $140 (2% upside) from $190.
    • Myriad Genetics (NASDAQ:MYGN) downgraded to Sell from Neutral with a $16 (14% downside risk) price target by Ladenburg Thalmann.
    | Fri, Oct. 14, 6:49 AM | 9 Comments
  • Fri, Oct. 7, 8:37 AM
    • Incyte (NASDAQ:INCY) is up 3% premarket, albeit on only 530 shares, in response to its announcement of updated results from the Phase 1 portion of a Phase 1/2 clinical trial, ECHO-202, assessing the combination of epacadostat and Merck's (NYSE:MRK) Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in treatment-naive advanced/metastatic melanoma patients. The data are being presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology 2016 Congress in Copenhagen.
    • The rates of progression-free survival (PFS) in 19 patients treated with the combination were 74% (n=14/19) at Month 6 and 57% (n=11/19) at Month 12. Median PFS has not been reached. The complete response rate (CR) was 26% (n=5/19) while the objective response rate (ORR) and disease control rate (DCR) were 58% (n=11/19) and 74% (n=14/19), respectively. Median follow-up was 56+ weeks (range: 46 - 90+).
    • In the total Phase 1 population (n=62), grade 3 (severe) and above treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) were observed in 19% (n=12/62), the most common being rash (8%) and increased lipase (5%). Five patients (8%) discontinued treatment due to TRAEs. The most common (at least 15%) all-grade TRAEs were fatigue, rash, joint pain, itchy skin, diarrhea and nausea.
    • Epacadostat is a small molecule inhibitor of IDO1, an immunosuppressive enzyme that has been shown to induce regulatory T cell generation and activation thereby allowing cancer cells to avoid detection by the immune system. Pembrolizumab 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.
    • Enrollment in the Phase 2 portion is ongoing.
    | Fri, Oct. 7, 8:37 AM | 4 Comments
  • Thu, Oct. 6, 3:32 PM
    • Biotech investors are sitting on the sell button today. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB -2.4%) is down on increased volume. Shares have retraced over 5% since the recent close of 300 on September 22.
    • Alnylam (ALNY -48%) is leading the rout after it announced that it was dropping development of RNAi candidate revusiran.
    • Representative tickers: (AMGN -0.3%)(BIIB -1.3%)(GILD -1.9%)(CELG -1.4%)(BMY)(MRK -0.7%)(PFE -1.2%)(VRTX -3%)(ALXN -2.2%)
    | Thu, Oct. 6, 3:32 PM | 25 Comments
  • Wed, Oct. 5, 10:45 AM
    • The FDA is now requiring a black box warning in the labels of at least nine brand name direct-acting antiviral drugs for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection due to the risk of reactivation of hepatitis B in patients who previously had the disease. The agency says that it has identified 24 cases of such reactivation from November 22, 2013 through July 18, 2016.
    • The revised labeling applies to Gilead Sciences' (GILD +0.5%) Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) and Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir), AbbVie's (ABBV +0.7%) Viekira Pak (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, dasabuvir) and Merck's (MRK +0.6%) Zepatier (elbasvir and grazoprevir).
    • Hepatitis B reactivation was not reported as an adverse event in the clinical trials of the HCV drugs.
    | Wed, Oct. 5, 10:45 AM | 28 Comments
  • Tue, Oct. 4, 9:20 AM
    • Samsung Bioepis announces that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has accepted for review the company’s Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) for SB3, a biosimilar to Roche's Herceptin (trastuzumab). Herceptin is a monoclonal antibody indicated for the treatment of breast cancer and gastric cancer. The MAA was submitted in August.
    • SB3 is Samsung Bioepis’ fifth biosimilar candidate submitted to the EMA, following SB4 (etanercept), SB2 (infliximab), SB9 (insulin glargine) and SB5 (adalimumab). It is the company’s first oncology biosimilar candidate submitted for regulatory review in Europe.
    • The marketing and distribution of SB3 in Europe will be handled by Merck (NYSE:MRK) if approved.
    • Samsung Bioepis is a joint venture between Samsung BioLogics and Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB).
    | Tue, Oct. 4, 9:20 AM | 1 Comment
  • Mon, Oct. 3, 10:47 AM
    • September monthly performance was: +0.2%
    • AUM of $1.3B
    • 52-week performance vs. the S&P 500 is: +7%
    • $0.21 in dividends were paid in September
    • Top 10 Holdings as of 8/31/2016: AT&T Inc (T): 5.38068%, Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM): 5.11766%, Verizon Communications Inc (VZ): 4.15514%, Chevron Corp (CVX): 3.62745%, General Electric Co (GE): 3.46929%, Procter & Gamble Co (PG): 3.13406%, Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT): 2.92688%, Pfizer Inc (PFE): 2.90452%, Philip Morris International Inc (PM): 2.83223%, Merck & Co Inc (MRK): 2.39541%
    | Mon, Oct. 3, 10:47 AM
  • Mon, Oct. 3, 9:04 AM
    • September monthly performance was: +0.5%
    • AUM of $13.6B
    • 52-week performance vs. the S&P 500 is: -3%
    • $0.04 in dividends were paid in September
    • Top 10 Holdings as of 6/30/2016: JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM): 3.02927%, US Treasury Note 1.125%, Citigroup Inc (C): 2.72752%, Bank of America Corporation (BAC): 1.75979%, General Electric Co (GE): 1.64495%, Apache Corp (APA): 1.43672%, Merck & Co Inc (MRK): 1.40565%, Royal Dutch Shell PLC Class A (OTCPK:RYDAF): 1.39841%, Morgan Stanley (MS): 1.39796%, US Treasury Note 0.625%
    | Mon, Oct. 3, 9:04 AM
  • Wed, Sep. 28, 7:29 AM
    • The first patient has been enrolled in a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial,VICTORIA, assessing Bayer's (OTCPK:BAYRY) vericiguat for the treatment of patients with chronic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). The study is being led by collaboration partner Merck (NYSE:MRK).
    • VICTORIA will involve ~4,900 subjects and take three years to complete. It will assess the safety and efficacy of up to 10 mg of vericiguat once daily compared to placebo (on a background of standard-of-care treatment) in reducing the risk of cardiovascular (CV) death or hospitalization due to heart failure(HF) in HFrEF patients following HF hospitalization or an intravenous diuretic without hospitalization. The primary endpoint is the time to first occurrence of the composite endpoint of CV mortality or HF hospitalization.
    • Vericiguat, discovered at Bayer, is a soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) stimulator. Guanylate cyclase is a key enzyme in the nitric oxide (NO) signaling pathway which promotes vasodilation while inhibiting smooth muscle proliferation, leukocyte recruitment, platelet aggregation and modulating inflammation. The agents are being developed to treat hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in addition to heart failure.
    • Vericiguat is being co-developed by the two companies under their October 2014 strategic collaboration. Funding for development and commercialization are being shared equally. Merck has commercial rights in the Americas and Bayer elsewhere.
    • About 20% of people worldwide will develop HF in their lifetime.
    | Wed, Sep. 28, 7:29 AM
  • Mon, Sep. 26, 1:10 PM
    • The first patient has been enrolled in recent IPO Gemphire Therapeutics' (GEMP -0.4%) Phase 2b clinical trial, COBALT-1, assessing sole product candidate gemcabene for the treatment of patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH).
    • The trial is assessing three doses (300 mg, 600 mg, 900 mg) of gemcabene in subjects on stable lipid-lowering therapy, including statins, ezetimibe [Merck's (NYSE:MRK) ZETIA] and Amgen's (AMGN -0.9%) Repatha (evolocumab). The primary efficacy endpoint is the change in LDL-C from baseline at 28, 56 and 84 days. According to, the estimated study completion date is February 2017.
    • Gemcabene is a once-daily orally available medication for patients unable to achieve normal levels of LDL-C or triglycerides with currently available therapies. It has a dual mechanism of action that blocks the production of hepatic triglyceride and cholesterol synthesis and enhances the clearance of VLDL (very low density lipoprotein). Specifically, it inhibits a liver protein called apolipoprotein C-III and may inhibit a liver enzyme called acetyl-CoA carboxylase. Gemphire licensed it from Pfizer in April 2011.
    | Mon, Sep. 26, 1:10 PM
  • Wed, Sep. 21, 9:53 AM
    • Cerecor (CERC) hits its enrollment target in a Phase 2 clinical trial, Clin301-203, evaluating CERC-301 for the adjunctive treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD), a Fast Track-designated indication by the FDA. Top-line data should be available in November.
    • The double-blind, placebo-controlled study has enrolled 115 subjects with MDD who experienced a severe depressive episode despite stable ongoing treatment with either a serotonin reuptake inhibitor or a serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Participants have been randomized to receive intermittent 12 mg or 20 mg oral doses of CERC-301 or placebo seven days apart followed by a 14-day observation period. The primary endpoint is the change from baseline in depression as measured by a scale called Bech-6. Secondary endpoints also assess the change in depression from baseline as determined by a range of scales.
    • CERC-301, licensed from Merck (MRK +0.4%), is an N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDA) antagonist, a class of drugs that induce dissociative anesthesia (e.g., ketamine).
    | Wed, Sep. 21, 9:53 AM | 2 Comments
  • Tue, Sep. 20, 4:59 PM
    • Clovis (NASDAQ:CLVS) has always been considered an acquisition target with a “long list” of potential suitors including Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY), Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) , and Roche, Janney tells Bloomberg in an interview.
    • CEO Patrick Mahaffy has sold other companies including Pharmion, NeXstar Pharmaceuticals.
    • Clovis closed +12.7% and is up another 7.7% AH. Earlier today the stock jumped when Gilead (NASDAQ:GILD) said it is looking for cancer deals.
    • Clovis's PDUFA date  for ovarian cancer drug rucaparib is Feb. 23, 2017.
    | Tue, Sep. 20, 4:59 PM | 19 Comments
  • Tue, Sep. 20, 7:05 AM
    • BioLineRx (NASDAQ:BLRX) initiates a Phase 2a study, COMBAT, assessing lead product candidate BL-8040 and Merck's (NYSE:MRK) KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) for the treatment of metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma. The 30-subject open-label, single-arm trial will evaluate the clinical response, safety and tolerability of the combination. The study is being performed under the companies' January immunotherapy collaboration. According to, the estimated study completion date is December 2018.
    • BL-8040 is a synthetic peptide that binds to a protein found on the surface of cancer cells called CXCR4, a chemokine receptor that that plays a key role in tumor growth and survival. CXCR4 is overexpressed in more than 70% of human cancers and is associated with a poor prognosis.
    | Tue, Sep. 20, 7:05 AM | 1 Comment