Here's That Critical Merck Info You Missed

Watch stocks you care about

The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...

Your own personalized stock watchlist!

It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...

Click Here Now

So much for Schering-Plough stocking Merck's (NYSE: MRK  ) pipeline to help it bring drugs to market. Two months into their marriage, Merck is killing plans to file for Food and Drug Administration approval of one of Schering-Plough's lead drugs.
The HIV drug, vicriviroc, failed two phase 3 trials testing the drug in patients that had stopped responding to other HIV treatments. Investors should get a little more information on the exact nature of the failure when data is presented at a medical meeting next month.

Merck made the announcement in the FAQ section of its investors webpage, which seems like an odd place to announce such a critical piece of information. Wonder how the topic became a "frequently asked question" if no one knew the data from the trials was complete? You might think the cost of issuing a press release had gone up substantially, but considering the endless number of press releases that some baby biotechs issue, I doubt that's the reason.

Vicriviroc is still in phase 2 trials for patients that have never been on HIV medications before, but that'll be a tough sell even if vicriviroc works in that patient population. Doctors are more likely to stick with first-line treatments that they know work like those from Gilead Sciences (Nasdaq: GILD  ) , Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY  ) , and Abbott Labs (NYSE: ABT  ) rather than using a new unknown treatment on recently diagnosed patients. That's why Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ  ) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) got their HIV drugs -- Intelence and Selzentry respectively -- approved for patients that have already failed other treatments; the treatment population may be smaller, but so is the competition.

We should probably hold off on calling Merck's $41 billion purchase a complete failure for now. It was just one compound after all. Still the development of Merck's newly stocked pipeline is something that investors will have to keep their eye on.

That, and the FAQ section of its website.

Tim Hanson wants to know if you missed this stock

Johnson & Johnson is an Income Investor recommendation. To see how dividend-paying stocks can offer both secure income and the opportunity for growth, take a free look at this newsletter with a 30-day free trial.

Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Pfizer is a recommendation of the Inside Value newsletter. Don't miss the Fool's disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (1) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2010, at 3:43 PM, heroncam wrote:

    Merck has a terrific HIV drug called Isentress, approved for both non-responders and new patients. They have no need of vicriviroc and this move is a good way of killing off duplicate drug lines. This is a good thing, not a bad thing. Expect to see more of this in the future, which will be good for Mercks' bottom line and shareholder value.

Add your comment.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1090306, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/24/2016 8:10:53 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,223.03 77.32 0.43%
S&P 500 2,151.33 10.17 0.47%
NASD 5,309.83 52.43 1.00%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/24/2016 4:00 PM
MRK $60.75 Down -0.45 -0.74%
Merck and Co. CAPS Rating: ****
ABT $40.41 Down -0.09 -0.22%
Abbott Laboratorie… CAPS Rating: *****
BMY $49.23 Down -0.79 -1.58%
Bristol-Myers Squi… CAPS Rating: ****
GILD $74.15 Down -0.14 -0.19%
Gilead Sciences CAPS Rating: *****
JNJ $113.61 Up +0.17 +0.15%
Johnson and Johnso… CAPS Rating: ****
PFE $32.13 Down -0.05 -0.16%
Pfizer CAPS Rating: ****