Pipeline Breakdown: Merck & Co. Inc.

Merck is competing against Bristol-Meyers Squibb in immuno-oncology, but taking an "if you can't beat 'em join 'em" approach against Gilead Sciences in hepatitis C.

May 15, 2014 at 6:30PM

Merck (NYSE:MRK) recently held its analyst day, updating analysts and investors listening in on its pipeline. While there weren't any major announcements -- no high-profile clinical trial results were announced -- there were a few tidbits that investors should pay attention to.

In the video below, senior biotech specialist Brian Orelli and health-care analyst David Williamson highlight a few of the crumbs that Merck left for investors.

MK-3475, Merck's PD-1 immuno-oncology drug, which is currently under review by the Food and Drug Administration for use in melanoma in patients that have failed Bristol-Myers Squibb's (NYSE:BMY) Yervoy, is in a head-to-head trial against Yervoy that should read out in the second half of the year. Meanwhile, Bristol-Myers Squibb is testing its competitor MK-3475 in combination with Yervoy, which could be more successful than MK-3475 on its own.

Filing for Merck's odanacatib for osteoporosis was delayed last year to collect more data. The pharma giant now says it'll file in the second half of this year, but the drug has some safety issues and will enter a crowded space with generic osteoporosis drugs.

Finally, Merck announced that it plans to start a trial testing its hepatitis C drugs in combination with Gilead Sciences' (NASDAQ:GILD) Sovaldi. The hope is that the regimen will be effective in as little as four weeks, reducing the treatment time of Gliead's Sovaldi regimen.

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Brian Orelli has no position in any stocks mentioned. David Williamson owns shares of Merck. The Motley Fool recommends Gilead Sciences. The Motley Fool owns shares of Gilead Sciences. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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