A Wall Street investment bank has thrown Merck a bone by upgrading its stock from "neutral" to "outperform," meaning it's poised to achieve better results than other drug companies. Shares were up on the news, as was the mood at HQ. Sure, Merck is beset by generic competition (as are its counterparts), and it has plenty of legal trouble to wrestle with, but it's riding high on a couple of blockbusters, including the asthma and allergy drug Singulair and the hypertension remedy Cozaar. Merck's pipeline of new prospects is heavily populated. Its new HIV drug Isentress is poised for FDA approval this fall, and late-stage trial results are due on its experimental heart attack remedy MK-0524A. Even vaccines are showing financial promise for the company, including RotaTeq, the anti-rotavirus shot, and Zostavax, a shingles vaccine. Gardisil, the HPV preventative, even got a mandate from the governor of Texas.
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