Merck & Co. Inc.
) announced encouraging results from a phase IIb study on its
house dust mite candidate, MK-8237. Results from the study were
presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of
Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).
The double-blind, single-site, phase IIb study (n = 124)
compared the use of 6 Development Units (DU) as well as 12 DU of
MK-8237 administered once-daily versus placebo in adults with
house dust mite-induced allergic rhinitis, with or without
At week 24 of treatment, in the last four hours of the chamber
challenge, MK-8237 demonstrated significant dose- and
time-dependent reduction in average total nasal symptom score
(TNSS). The TNSS score is based on four symptoms comprising itchy
nose, blocked nose, runny nose and sneezing. TNSS of -27% and
-49% was observed in MK-8237 6 DU and 12 DU, respectively, when
compared to placebo.
Merck has already started with the process of screening
patients for a phase III study on MK-8237 evaluating the
candidate in adolescents and adults with house dust mite-induced
Merck has several allergy candidates in advanced stages of
development. Some of the most advanced candidates, which are
already under U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) review,
include Grastek (Timothy grass pollen allergy) and Ragwitek
(ragweed pollen allergy). A response should be out in the first
half of 2014.
Merck currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better
ranked stocks in the health care sector include
Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Biogen Idec Inc.
). While Alexion and Biogen carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy),
Novo Nordisk holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
ALEXION PHARMA (ALXN): Free Stock Analysis
BIOGEN IDEC INC (BIIB): Free Stock Analysis
MERCK & CO INC (MRK): Free Stock Analysis
NOVO-NORDISK AS (NVO): Free Stock Analysis
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