Merck & Co. Inc.
) recently joined forces with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) to
conduct a phase II study with their hepatitis C virus (HCV)
candidates. The study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of a
once-daily oral combination of MK-5172 and daclatasvir for the
treatment of chronic HCV.
Merck's MK-5172 is an oral HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitor,
which is being evaluated in combination with other approved and
investigational medications in phase II studies.
Bristol-Myers' daclatasvir (phase III) is an NS5A inhibitor,
under evaluation for the treatment of direct-acting antiviral
(DAA) based hepatitis C.
Terms of the Deal
Under this non-exclusive agreement, Merck will conduct the
phase II study. Additional development activities beyond phase II
are not covered in this agreement.
We are positive on this deal which reflects the commitment of
both companies towards developing new therapies for HCV. The HCV
market represents immense commercial potential with more than 170
million HCV patients across the world. Currently, many large cap
companies are developing drugs for the treatment of HCV.
The launch of Merck's Victrelis and
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.
) Incivek changed the treatment paradigm of the HCV market.
Victrelis, approved in 69 countries, posted worldwide sales of
$502 million in 2012. Incivek posted sales of $1.16 billion in
2012.The development of an all-oral treatment regimen would be a
major change in the HCV treatment paradigm.
Merck carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Currently, companies
like Vertex Pharma,
Cleveland BioLabs, Inc.
Transcept Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
) look more attractive. All three stocks carry a ZacksRank #1
CLEVELAND BIOLB (CBLI): Free Stock Analysis
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