) recently presented encouraging phase IIb data on its type II
diabetes candidate, MK-3102, at the annual meeting of the European
Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD). Results from the
12-week multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled
dose-ranging study showed that MK-3102 led to a significant
reduction in blood sugar compared to placebo. Moreover, MK-3102 was
found to be well tolerated with a safety profile similar to
Merck said that the occurrence of symptomatic hypoglycemia was
similar for MK-3102 and placebo. Five doses (0.25, 1, 3, 10 and 25
mg) of MK-3102 were evaluated in the study that was conducted in
type II diabetes patients whose glycemic control was not sufficient
on diet and exercise.
Merck intends to move MK-3102 into phase III studies. The
successful development of MK-3102 would provide type II diabetes
patients with a convenient once-weekly treatment option. Merck has
a strong presence in the diabetes market in the form of drugs like
Januvia, Janumet and Juvisync. The launch of a once-weekly
treatment would be a strong addition to the company's diabetes
The diabetes market, while crowded, represents significant
commercial potential. Key players in the diabetes market include
) among others.
We note that
Johnson & Johnson
) also presented data on its type II diabetes candidate,
canagliflozin at the annual meeting of the EASD. Johnson &
Johnson's canagliflozin led to a significant decline in blood
glucose levels when used in addition to insulin therapy compared to
placebo. Moreover, patients in the canagliflozin arms experienced a
reduction in body weight compared to placebo.
The phase III data was presented from an 18-week sub-study
involving 1,718 patients who had been under insulin therapy for an
average of 7.1 years. Johnson & Johnson said that two doses of
canagliflozin were evaluated in the study - 100 mg and 300 mg.
Patients were randomized to receive either canagliflozin dosage or
Johnson & Johnson has submitted marketing applications in
the US and the EU for canagliflozin.
We currently have a Neutral recommendation on both Merck and
Johnson & Johnson. While Johnson & Johnson carries a Zacks
#2 Rank (short-term 'Buy' rating), Merck carries a Zacks #3 Rank
(short-term 'Hold' rating).
JOHNSON & JOHNS (JNJ): Free Stock Analysis
LILLY ELI & CO (LLY): Free Stock Analysis
MERCK & CO INC (MRK): Free Stock Analysis
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