Seeking Alpha


Send Message
View as an RSS Feed
View bricius' Comments BY TICKER:

Latest  |  Highest rated
  • Merck stays the course with 30,000-patient anacetrapib study; DMC recommends continuation with no changes [View news story]
    The body has an amazingly way to heal itself once you remove the injurious pathology. True, you will not completely reverse many years of abuse, but drug intervention + an improved lifestyle could add additional years of quality living in a patient. Anacetrapib increases HDL and decreases LDL on top of an excellent safety profile. While the jury is still out on the effect of increasing HDL, lowering LDL has been clinically proven to decrease the number of adverse cardiovascular events. Let's hope MRK half a billion investment in clinical trials for anacetrapib will pay off.

    Please, also note that a good cross section of patients exhibits adverse lipid profile (low HDL, high LDL and triglycerides) as a result of genetic constitution and irrespective of their lifestyle.
    Nov 15, 2015. 03:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Merck stays the course with 30,000-patient anacetrapib study; DMC recommends continuation with no changes [View news story]
    Best news to date from MRK! I used to be quite pessimistic on this subject based on the barrage of bad news from other companies running similar programs. Perhaps there is a glimpse of hope here, that anacetrapib is different from the competition CETP inhibitors , which so far have crashed. May be the superior safety profile, and LDL lowering effect will save the day if not the expected increase in HDL mechanism. I am not saying buy MRK yet, but certainly waiting for a bit more data with trepidation and finger crossed.
    Nov 13, 2015. 12:36 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Merck & Co. (MRK) Kenneth C. Frazier on Q3 2015 Results - Earnings Call Transcript [View article]
    Futility analysis and decision time for anacetrapip by year end, I like that! It's best to get this program resolved one way or another. If it goes the evacetrapip way then we know exactly where MRK stands with its pipeline. What's left that is novel and exciting that could lift MRK to its former glory, perhaps the phase III BACE inhibitor studies for AD? Be it as it may, it will be several more years before we could know for sure. In the meantime? Limping and sputtering with declining revenues and trying to survive by trying to be more efficient and productive, I guess! Especially, in R&D! Be well Merck!
    Oct 27, 2015. 07:36 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Merck Offers Solid Yield, Capital Appreciation [View article]
    Thanks! Good to know!
    Oct 18, 2015. 12:43 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Merck Offers Solid Yield, Capital Appreciation [View article]
    Steady yields, yes! Capital appreciation, I'm not sure. Can somebody tell me about MRK efforts bringing Anacetrapib to market? The fact that Pfizer, Roche and most recently Lilly going down in flame in this area, just send chills up my spine about MRK pipeline. I am hoping no news is good news but we all know it could be otherwise.
    Oct 16, 2015. 12:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • FDA clears Merck's Keytruda for second-line treatment of lung cancer [View news story]
    biochemist, you are 100% correct! I'll try to polish my language better next time around.
    Oct 4, 2015. 01:02 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • FDA clears Merck's Keytruda for second-line treatment of lung cancer [View news story]
    I'll take good news from Merck any day since I am still holding a small position. Besides non-squamous NSCLC and melanomas, many other tumors secrete PD-L1: renal cell carcinoma, gastric cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, cutaneous leukemia and various others, multiple myelomas, just to name a few. Let's just hope Merck will do the right set of trials to tease out all those indications to establish a leading position against the competition.

    I frankly want to be excited but reality has taught me otherwise. Merck needs 2 more products of Keytruda caliber (and preferably one of the 2 a biologics) to be really healthy again, and re-establish itself in its former glory.
    Oct 2, 2015. 09:39 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Merck Is A Dark Horse To Beat [View article]
    Haha! Grace Chen is an employee of Merck and despite all the added disclosures I can't help feeling suspicious. Nevertheless, the write-up seems to be well-balanced in terms of past weakness and current strength.

    Recruiting Perlmutter as Head of R&D to reorganize the old establishment was a good move. At the very least he salvaged the anti-PD1 therapy and made it a biologics success story. The anti-PD1 effort was inherited from the merger with Schering-Plough, which in turn acquired it from its own take over of Organon many years ago. The old Schering-Plough also had on public records advanced anti-PCSK9 efforts, which the old guard Merck R&D establishment failed to take advantage allowing Regeneron and Amgen to beat them to market to a pulp. Considering that Merck is entrenched in cholesterol therapy with statins and Zetia, how could that possibly happen? How many more backward R&D thinkers are still lurking at Merck? Was the reorganization operation by Perlmutter thorough enough?

    To be fair I see progress, but not enough to rush wanting to buy more. I am remaining neutral and JP Morgan seems to agree with me when it classified Merck & Co 16th in terms of desirable pharma stocks.
    Sep 23, 2015. 12:14 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Merck's Keytruda cleared in Europe for advanced melanoma [View news story]
    Douglas, You might want to review bullet 2. PD-1 is a cell surface receptor found on T-cells and not cancer cells. Activation of PD-1 by its ligand PD-L1 suppress T-cell activation thereby protecting cancer cells from immune destruction. Antibodies to PD-1 (Keytruda, Opdivo) block PD-1/PD-L1 interaction allowing T-cells to remain fully activated to attack cancer cells. Some cancer cells are very good at producing lots of PD-L1 to ward off immune surveillance.

    Check Wiki:
    Jul 22, 2015. 03:42 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Merck: Should You Buy It? [View article]
    2016 would be still awfully optimistic. Considering that both Idenix nucleoside analog candidates that Merck had interest in (IDX 21437 and 21459) were still in phase I/II in January of 2014, I don't expect to see anything to come out of Idenix efforts until past 2018. Now that Merck had gobbled up Idenix, it would want to combine those with its own candidates and conduct more trials, it may even want to consider more analogs of the above in the context of its global HCV program. That would make predicting even more difficult. It appears that the investment in Idenix is for the long term objective of beating out the competition in HCV. Merck expertise in nucleoside analogs for HCV is zilch for all practical purpose, the acquisition of Idenix is changing that picture. To make a long story short, I don't expect a pay off from the Idenix acquisition until past 2018. A candidate from Idenix on the market by Merck would already be quite a coup, a near miracle. Think about Merck acquisition of Schering-Plough, and how many gold star candidates from Schering-Plough went to the drain a few years after.

    Merck value right now is fair, I would consider it among others for the long term, but buying on an impulse for a quick gain, no way! Ahead Merck still needs lots of hard work and luck, which is always in short supply for everybody in the industry.
    Aug 11, 2014. 12:55 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Merck - Current Valuation Is Based On Future Pipeline, Amidst Poor Current Earnings Quality [View article]
    Frankly, this is a very fair assessment. Merck seems to be healing after the reorganization of its R&D section, but we are still a way finding out if the company could turn around its pipeline problems. The acquisition of Schering-Plough almost 4 years ago could be paying off since the 2 promising programs most mentioned nowadays, anti-PD1 and HCV, have very deep roots there. Even if the market expectations for these two programs could come to fruition (and it couldn't be soon enough), the best we could hope is Merck will be able to keep its nose above water compared to the competition. For Merck to do well, we need to see notable market success in a third major program, BACE inhibitors for AD for example. What happen to that? Is it falling by the way side again, like so many others in the past, losing out to the competition because of poor R&D leadership?
    Aug 5, 2014. 11:46 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • AstraZeneca rejects Pfizer's final offer of £69B [View news story]
    I applaud the rejection by AZN. Pfizer management has shown beyond doubt over the years that it was incapable of nurturing the company toward sustainable growth, except by mega mergers to take advantages of cost savings through consolidation and tax advantages. Unfortunately, Pfizer is not the only large pharmaceutical company with that predicament. It is a trend in the industry that must be stopped. Shareholders should hold the executives for failure in managing innovations driving growth. It is much more productive for the company and society at large to reshuffle top executives, or hold them accountable through pay-for-performance. Mega mergers leading to massive lay-off is utterly ugly and should only be used as last resort, and not built-in habit for profit making.
    May 19, 2014. 10:29 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Merck - Pipeline Success Is Required To Justify The Recent Momentum [View article]
    It's a good thing that the company made a profit last Quarter, but the fact that it still came from laying off employees and other cost cutting measures is nothing to brag about. I don't understand why investors are cheering? The reaction should have been very cautious optimism, with a realization that Mr Frazier, his staff and the BOD are still in need of improvement. Of course, the improvement must come from the research pipeline, an area that has been defective for the last 10-15 years, because of a disastrous research leadership at legacy Merck that sunk a top and most admired company to what it is today. If the promise of an improved oncology and HCV franchise ever come through, then fine. These two areas may help Merck keep its nose above water but they won't restore the company to its former status. Merck must chalk more successes, perhaps in the CNS area with BACE inhibitors for AD. What happen to its much hyped CETP program? And if odanacatib come through with no disastrous long term side effects for osteoporosis patients, how much revenue would that bring? I can go on and on. I want to see more analysis of programs that suddenly became background noises. I have not forgotten that Merck had a very long string of broken promises when it comes to drug pipeline. Merging, laying off underlings, selling off buildings, may just be a smoke screen for hiding layers of non performing top leadership. The fat cats that gobble its own litters for strength are to be feared by all investors. A great company is one that nurtures its resources, including humans, to strength instead of spinning them off. With these thoughts, good luck to you all with Merck.
    Apr 30, 2014. 12:50 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Merck announces multibillion restructuring program [View news story]
    If you own MRK shares (even one) just vote no to the reappointment or appointment of executives or BOD members, or the whole lot of them, whom you don't feel comfortable. That's a good way to send a message to the Chairman to clean house. It may sound idealistic and impractical, but it's the only way to pile pressure on, besides ranting in this forum or similar others.
    Oct 6, 2013. 12:46 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Merck announces multibillion restructuring program [View news story]
    MRK has been cutting operating expenses laying off people for the last 5 years or so, and still hasn't got it right. A year or so ago before he hired Perlmutter, I remember CEO Frazier saying that he will reinforce R&D and increase spending in that area, now he is talking about cutting. Does he know what he is doing? I really don't think it's a matter of cutting R&D, it's a matter of hiring the right folks. I am sure there are plenty of unproductive high level people, left over from Peter Kim era, that need to be replaced with more forward open minded alternatives who could make the right decision moving the company forward. The old R&D infrastructure must be rebuilt from ground zero.
    Oct 1, 2013. 09:18 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment