Merck & Co Inc. (MRK) - NYSE
  • Oct. 28, 2013, 12:05 AM
  • Oct. 27, 2013, 5:30 PM
  • Oct. 27, 2013, 12:45 PM
    • Is Merck's (MRK) vicriviroc about to get a second lease on life as a potential treatment for cancer? Citi apparently thinks so.
    • Development of vicriviroc as a treatment for HIV was halted several years ago after it missed primary endpoints in clinical testing, but new research suggests CCR5 inhibitors like vicriviroc may have a role in reducing the spread of cancer cells and could be paired with cancer immunotherapies in clinical trials.
    • "Citi [expects] vicriviroc to re-enter clinical testing in combination with cancer immunotherapy as MRK explores its potential across multiple tumor types, including melanoma, colorectal, breast, prostate and liver cancer," Reuters says.
    • For its part, MRK says it "has not disclosed" such plans.
    • Another CCR5 inhibitor: Pfizer's (PFE) Selzentry.
    | Oct. 27, 2013, 12:45 PM
  • Oct. 25, 2013, 4:50 PM
    • "Our patients have been waiting for this for a long time," Reuters quotes the chief of medicine service at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare Service as saying, regarding Gilead's (GILD) nucleotide analogue inhibitor HCV treatment sofosbuvir.
    • The drug was called "historic" and a "game changer" at today's Ad Com meeting, where panelists voted 15-0 to recommend approval for GTs 2 and 3 (with ribavirin) and 1 and 4 (with ribavirin and interferon).
    • Analysts polled by Reuters see the drug as a $1.73B opportunity in 2014.
    • The competition: Protease inhibitors from Merck (MRK) and Vertex (VRTX).
    | Oct. 25, 2013, 4:50 PM
  • Oct. 23, 2013, 3:09 PM
    • Aegis and Jefferies are out with some commentary on Cubist Pharmaceuticals (CBST -4.4%) following the company's Q3 report.
    • "While U.S. Cubicin sales were in line with our estimate, ~2-3% lowered FY13 guidance indicates continued challenging environment for brand antibiotics," Jefferies' Eun Yang says.
    • Nevertheless, Yang thinks CBST has a good opportunity with tedizolid to leverage its existing antibiotics sales force.
    • Buy rating reiterated, price target hiked to $76 from $70.
    • Meanwhile, Aegis' Ram Selvaraju reiterates a Buy rating and a $70 price target.
    | Oct. 23, 2013, 3:09 PM
  • Oct. 23, 2013, 11:21 AM
    • Briefing docs are out for Gilead's (GILD -0.1%sofosbuvir and all signs point to quick approval for the HCV treatment.
    • The data "support a favorable benefit-risk assessment [for use] as part of a combination regimen," the regulator said, adding that "in the HCV GT 2 and 3 populations, the sofosbuvir and ribavirin combination regimen provides the first all-oral, interferon-free treatment, as well as a shorter treatment duration and improved safety profile compared to the current standard of care."
    • As Fierce Biotech notes, approval will set sofosbuvir "firmly on a path to a megablockbuster market, with a wide variety of analysts estimating peak annual sales at $5B-plus."
    • Full briefing docs here
    • Probably not so excited about these developments: Vertex (VRTX -2.4%) and Merck (MRK +0.2%) who make Incivek and Victrelis, respectively.
    | Oct. 23, 2013, 11:21 AM
  • Oct. 22, 2013, 4:34 PM
    • Cubist Pharmaceuticals (CBST) trades largely flat AH on the heels of its Q3 report.
    • Product sales: Cubicin U.S. +10% to $229.9M; Cubicin international +8.3% to $13M; Entereg, +36% to $13.7M.
    • Dificid co-promotion revenues: $3.8M.
    • Cash as of September 30: $997.8M.
    • On its two big acquisitions: "We believe our transactions to acquire Trius and Optimer will enhance our product portfolio and position us to further leverage our differentiated business model with our promising pipeline candidates." (PR)
    | Oct. 22, 2013, 4:34 PM
  • Oct. 22, 2013, 4:04 PM
    • Cubist Pharma (CBST): Q3 EPS of $0.41 misses by $0.12.
    • Revenue of $266.0M (+12% Y/Y) misses by $1.96M. Shares -2.09% AH. (PR)
    | Oct. 22, 2013, 4:04 PM
  • Oct. 22, 2013, 9:04 AM
    • Cubist Pharmaceuticals (CBST) submits an NDA for tedizolid phosphate for the treatment of ABSSSI.
    • CBST acquired the asset as part of the Trius deal. (PR)
    | Oct. 22, 2013, 9:04 AM
  • Oct. 22, 2013, 12:10 AM
  • Oct. 21, 2013, 5:35 PM
  • Oct. 14, 2013, 2:14 PM
    • AstraZeneca (AZN +0.5%) may be a step behind Roche (RHHBY.OB +0.9%), Bristol-Myers (BMY +0.3%), and Merck (MRK -1.3%) when it comes to developing immunotherapies to treat cancer, but "the field is still very open for combinations and [AZN is] very much in the race," the company's head of biologics Bahija Jallal says.
    • The "breadth" of AZN's pipeline and the "pace of cancer drug development" may help AZN catch up to industry leaders quickly, Reuters notes.
    • One promising candidate is the PD-L1 blocker MEDI4376 which may prove most effective when paired with other drugs such as tremelimumab which "works in a similar way to BMY's Yervoy."
    • Late last month, Roche reported positive results for its PD-LI drug MPDL3280A in NSCLC.
    | Oct. 14, 2013, 2:14 PM | 1 Comment
  • Oct. 14, 2013, 10:30 AM
    • Merck (MRK -1.3%) trades lower after receiving a pair of downgrades.
    • Bernstein cuts the shares to Market Perform from Outperform. Price target is $50.
    • Barclays moves to the sidelines, taking MRK to Equalweight from Overweight.
    • See also: Jefferies weighs in on Big Pharma
    | Oct. 14, 2013, 10:30 AM
  • Oct. 11, 2013, 8:29 AM
    • Jefferies is out with a few Big Pharma downgrades.
    • AstraZeneca (AZN) is cut to Underperform from Hold on "poor base business fundamentals" and an "unlikely" Brilinta turnaround. The stock is now Jefferies' "least preferred European stock."
    • Eli Lilly (LLY) is downgraded to Underperform from Hold on "further R&D disappointment in its pipeline as well as the increased strain this will put on future cash flow allocation required to maintain the dividend." Price target cut to $40 from $49.
    • Merck (MRK) is cut to Hold from Buy as Jefferies says the magnitude of share repurchases and cost-savings was "less than hoped for." Although MRK may "divest or JV either (or both) its Consumer or Animal Health units, this alone is not reason enough ... to leave the shares on a Buy rating ... considering the pressures on Januvia growth [and] poor R&D productivity."
    | Oct. 11, 2013, 8:29 AM | 1 Comment
  • Oct. 1, 2013, 4:35 PM
    • Goldman's Jami Rubin is out with some positive commentary on Merck (MRK) following the company's announcement of a multibillion restructuring.
    • "MRK described these moves as proactive although 2013 has clearly been a challenging year of patent cliffs and R&D setbacks," Rubin notes, updating her model to include the projected cost savings.
    • Rubin also raises her numbers on MK-3475 and is now "more confident in efficacy across multiple tumor types." MRK released preliminary findings in NSCLC today: Preliminary objective response rate 24% irRC and 21% RECIST 1.1. (full release)
    • Goldman's price target is hiked to $54 from $52. Hold rating reiterated.
    | Oct. 1, 2013, 4:35 PM
  • Oct. 1, 2013, 7:51 AM
    • Merck (MRK) announces an initiative to "sharpen its commercial and R&D focus" in order to "better target its resources behind those opportunities that have the potential to deliver the greatest return on investment."
    • The company is looking to reduce annual operating expenses by ~$2.5B by the end of 2015 with ~$1B to be realized by the end of next year.
    • MRK will cut its workforce by around 8,500 positions — that's in addition to the 7,500 positions the company has already cut.
    • The restructuring will cost $2.5-3B, around two-thirds of which will be recognized as cash outlays.
    • FY13 non-GAAP guidance reiterated at $3.45-3.55. (PR)
    | Oct. 1, 2013, 7:51 AM | 12 Comments
Company Description
Merck & Co., Inc. provides various health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products worldwide. It is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and... More
Sector: Healthcare
Industry: Drug Manufacturers - Major
Country: United States