Chart: Shared Strengths: The Merck And Schering Pipelines
For a company that takes pride in the strength of its R&D organization, Merck's late-stage pipeline has needed an infusion for some time. High-risk products such as Cordaptive and the CETP inhibitor anaceptrapib have suffered clinical setbacks while drugs like the CB-1 antagonist taranabant have been outright failures, leaving a thin Phase III pipeline ("The Pink Sheet" Oct. 6, 2008, p. 22). The proposed acquisition of Schering-Plough brings Merck some of what it needs - a range of late-stage opportunities that round out the Whitehouse, N.J.-based drugmaker's existing portfolio, strengthening its positions in neuroscience and respiratory drugs. Thanks to Schering, the company will have three pending NME products at FDA this year, where it previously had none. The deal also gives Merck potential blockbuster drugs if TRA and bocepravir deliver in clinical trials. Much of the credit for Schering's pipeline goes to CEO Fred Hassan, who has focused on rebuilding that pharma's pipeline via licensing and acquisition. In particular, the 2007 takeover of Organon BioSciences, which added central nervous system and women's health assets, was critical to Merck's desire to purchase the company. Organon assets now comprise three-quarters of Schering's pipeline. Here's a closer look at the combined Merck-Schering pipeline, with an emphasis on novel products or combinations in mid- to late-stage development.
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