Odanacatib Phase III Success Suggests Merck’s Primary Care Gamble Is Paying Off
This article was originally published in The Pink Sheet Daily
A data monitoring committee’s early termination of a 16,000-patient Phase III study of Merck’s cap-K inhibitor odanacatib suggests the osteoporosis therapy could have a competitive profile. Drug will need to offer significant advantages to cut it in the crowded market already saturated with generics.
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At a May 6 investor day, Merck’s R&D head Roger Perlmutter revealed the safety issues that have been delaying the company’s late-stage osteoporosis drug and tried to renew confidence in the treatment.
New bone-targeted agents for osteoporosis must clear significant obstacles to succeed in a highly generic market, but safety concerns with established agents like bisphosphonates and calcitonin offer a foothold. Phase III anabolic candidates from Amgen and Radius Health aim to build new bone, the holy grail of osteoporosis treatment, but R&D in new anti-resorptive mechanisms to halt bone breakdown also continues.
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