Merck ( MRK ) recently
announced the presentation of results from the HPS2-THRIVE (
H eart P rotection
S tudy 2 - T
reatment of H DL to R educe the
I ncidence of V ascular
E vents) study that was conducted with its
cholesterol management drug, Tredaptive (extended-release
The results were presented at the American College of Cardiology
by researchers from the Clinical Trial Service Unit at Oxford
Preliminary results from the long term safety study had been
announced in Dec 2012. Tredaptive failed to meet its primary
endpoint in the study that compared Tredaptive plus statin therapy
to statin therapy.
Results showed that adding Tredaptive to statin therapy did not
lead to a significant reduction in the risk of major vascular
events (a combination of coronary deaths, non-fatal heart attacks,
strokes or revascularizations) compared to statin therapy (13.2%
Moreover, the incidence of some types of non-fatal serious
adverse events in the Tredaptive arm increased significantly. These
included diabetic complications, new onset diabetes, infection,
gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, bleeding (including
gastrointestinal and intracranial) and skin. A small excess in
heart failure was also observed.
Earlier this year, Merck had announced its intention to take
Tredaptive off the market. While Tredaptive (also known as Pelzont
and Trevaclyn) is not approved in the US, it was available in 40
countries across the world and approved in 70 countries.
The failure of Tredaptive to achieve its primary endpoint in the
HPS-2 THRIVE study is a disappointment especially as Tredaptive was
one of the candidates in Merck's pipeline slated for a US
regulatory filing in 2013.
We currently have a Neutral recommendation on Merck, which
carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Large-cap pharma companies that
currently look better-positioned include Eli Lilly
( LLY ) and
Novo Nordisk ( NVO ). Both are Zacks
Rank #2 (Buy) stocks. Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
( AVNR ) also looks
attractive with a Zacks Rank #2.AVANIR PHARM (AVNR): Free Stock Analysis ReportLILLY ELI & CO (LLY): Free Stock Analysis
ReportMERCK & CO INC (MRK): Free Stock Analysis
ReportNOVO-NORDISK AS (NVO): Free Stock Analysis
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