Gardasil may be the No. 2-selling vaccine in the world, but its marketers have struggled against a variety of barriers to get it where they want it in terms of uptake. Now, a new anal cancer indication in Europe may help with that goal.
David Egilman, a professor of family medicine at Brown University, was once a federal witness in a lawsuit filed against Merck over the now-long-withdrawn Vioxx. Merck finally closed the books on all the Vioxx suits last summer, but the company is now asking a federal judge to sanction Egilman for leaking info to the Wall Street Journal.
Convening in San Francisco for the annual conference of the American Diabetes Association this weekend, drugmakers angled for the spotlight in a field made up mostly of similar treatments with small differentiations that could spell the difference between blockbuster sales and also-ran status.
Fresh off signing a blockbuster deal for hepatitis C drug developer Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Merck R&D chief Roger Perlmutter said his company won't shy away from buying big into biotech, provided there are promising medicines at stake.
The biotech sector proved to be last year's darling of irrational exuberance, seeing a whole slate of small-cap companies surge in value. Over the last few months, though, swelling hopes gave way to a painful correction, especially after a series of clinical-stage disasters.
Rotavirus vaccines RotaTeq and Rotarix from Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, respectively, have seen uptake grow over the past several years. And with good reason, a new study shows: As the vaccines have become more widespread, the number of children hospitalized for rotavirus-related diarrhea has plunged.
Proof-of-concept data for Idenix's lead hepatitis C nucleotide helped drive a competitive bidding process that included AbbVie and Johnson & Johnson and resulted in the $3.85 billion price tag for the buyout. And Merck may get more than pipeline help from the deal--it could also get a leg up in an ongoing IP battle with HCV leader Gilead Sciences.
Sovaldi's runaway success looms large over Merck's decision to ante up $3.8 billion to buy Idenix Pharmaceuticals, which has three hepatitis C drugs in early stage development. Gilead's hep C drug has given an early peek at just how large the market is and how extensive it will be for years to come, an opportunity Merck hopes to exploit by acquiring more hep C firepower.
Almost a year after it promised to go on a shopping spree for new experimental drugs, Merck has come up with a $3.85 billion cash deal to buy out Idenix, a biotech company best known for its setbacks in hepatitis C drug research.
Some of pharma's biggest players have already said they're looking into jettisoning their portfolios of older meds or selling off certain established products with an eye toward newer, fast-growing drugs. And as that trend takes flight, other pharma companies may look to make similar moves, The Wall Street Journal 's sources say.