Companies team up for new drug

first_imgTRENTON, N.J. – Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp., partners looking to grab more of the $32 billion global cholesterol-drug market, will jointly develop a new medicine combining their Zetia with rival Pfizer Inc.’s blockbuster Lipitor. The planned drug, meant to reduce bad cholesterol levels in two ways, could hit the market when Lipitor’s patent expires in a few years, Merck and Schering-Plough said Monday. Information on when human testing would begin was not disclosed. News of the deal pushed up Schering-Plough’s shares more than 2 percent, while Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck shares dipped about 1 percent. Merck and Schering-Plough have a seven-year-old joint venture that markets two cholesterol drugs: Schering-Plough’s Zetia and a combo pill launched in mid-2004 called Vytorin. It combines Zetia and Zocor, Merck’s former blockbuster, which lost patent protection in June 2006. Zetia is the only drug on sale that limits absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract. Zocor, like other drugs in a popular class called statins, limits cholesterol production in the liver. The Merck-Schering-Plough joint venture promotes Vytorin heavily, stressing that it fights cholesterol in two ways. “We anticipate that the Lipitor/Zetia combination may be more effective than Vytorin on cholesterol reduction and could capture an even larger share of the cholesterol-management market than Vytorin,” analyst Joseph Tooley of A.G. Edwards wrote in a research note. Halit Bander, the head of New York-based Pfizer’s Lipitor medical team, said the company can’t speculate on how the new combination would work. Schering-Plough spokeswoman Mary-Fran Faraji said combining Zetia with any statin reduces cholesterol levels about an extra 20 percent, roughly three times as much benefit as just doubling a statin’s dose. “This will present, if it’s approved, an additional option for physicians and patients,” she said. “There are really tremendous unmet needs in cholesterol management.” Heart disease remains the country’s No. 1 killer and many patients are unable to reduce their level of bad cholesterol – and with it cardiac risk – as much as doctors recommend. Meanwhile, new studies reported Monday that a complementary strategy of trying to stave off heart disease by boosting good cholesterol didn’t work well and had safety problems. Lipitor, the world’s top-selling drug, currently is protected by two patents, one facing a legal challenge, according to Pfizer. It is not expected to face generic competition until March 2010 or later. Last year, Lipitor brought Pfizer $12.9 billion in revenues worldwide, more than three times the combined sales for Zetia and Vytorin of $3.86 billion.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

France international set for Man United exit, with Serie A giants looming

first_imgA rumoured swap deal involving Blues Brazilian midfielder Willian was touted, with Jose Mourinho a huge fan from his tenure at Stamford Bridge.The Old Lady believe they can still attract Martial to Turin in January, even if United do indeed offer the forward a new contract.Martial’s current deal expires next summer and a decision on his future is likely to be announced soon. moving on Latest Transfer News targets There was also reported interest from Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea during the summer as Martial missed out on Didier Deschamps World Cup-winning squad. Martial started, but was poor against Brighton Martial has played just once in all competitions for United this season IN DEMAND LIVING THE DREAM LATEST The biggest market value losers in 2019, including Bale and ex-Liverpool star Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ Man United joined by three other clubs in race for Erling Haaland RANKED Kevin De Bruyne ‘loves Man City and wants to keep winning’, reveals father Cavani ‘agrees’ to join new club and will complete free transfer next summer targets Where every Premier League club needs to strengthen in January Anthony Martial is still a target for Juventus, despite reports Manchester United are ready to offer him a new contract.The Serie A champions are set to make a move in January, despite being linked with the France international all summer. Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti REVEALED Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade 2 Martial has been frozen out of the first-team picture under Jose Mourinho and he has made just one appearance so far this season.He was a surprise starter in the 3-2 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion, and his poor performance led many fans to question his long-term future in Manchester.However, reports emerged in recent days that United are considering offering Martial a new and improved contract, despite growing interest in the 22-year-old.Juventus and Bayern Munich were fronting the queue this summer and, according to Calciomercato, Italian champions Juve are not giving up their pursuit of the Frenchman. 2last_img read more