But Merck was able to relieve some of those headaches on Friday by presenting pretty good data for its phase 3 migraine drug, telcagepant. The drug worked as well as AstraZeneca's
The results presented came from a liquid-filled capsule, but Merck has reformulated the drug into a solid tablet, so it'll have to finish up clinical trials using the tablet form before applying for marketing approval with the FDA next year.
If it's approved, telcagepant could grab a significant piece of the migraine-treatment market. But it might need a head-to-head trial against Imitrex if Merck hopes to make a serious dent in the almost $1.4 billion in worldwide sales that Glaxo posted last year. Still, even a few hundred million dollars in sales would be a welcome addition to a drug arsenal that's seen its fair share of duds and backfires.
Merck has a long climb back into the dominant position it appeared to have mastered just six months ago, but at least the results of telcagepant should give investors some temporary relief from their pain.