Merck Says Additional Information Provided to Investigators in Clinical Study of Vorapaxar

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Merck (known outside the United States and Canada as MSD) reported today that investigators in the TRA-2P study of vorapaxar have been provided with additional information about the recommendations of the Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) regarding the TRA-2P study. The additional information was sent yesterday in a communication to investigators from the Operations Committee of the TRA-2P study of vorapaxar. Vorapaxar is one of Merck's investigational cardiovascular medicines.

This communication follows announcements issued on Thursday, January 13 by the academic centers leading TRA-2P and TRACER, the two large clinical studies of vorapaxar, and by Merck ( Those communications reported on changes being made to these clinical studies following recommendations from the joint DSMB overseeing the studies. In the new communication, Dr. Eugene Braunwald, Chairman of the TRA-2P study, reported to investigators that:

"The DSMB has communicated to us that based on all of the data (safety and efficacy) available to them from both trials, they recommend that subjects with a history of stroke not receive vorapaxar. They have observed an increase in intracranial hemorrhage in patients with a history of stroke that is not outweighed by their considerations of potential benefit."

Commenting on the new communication, Dr. Braunwald said, "In contrast, on the basis of their risk/benefit assessment in patients without a history of stroke, the DSMB recommended to us that it is important that the trial continue to completion in the more than 20,000 subjects who qualified for the trial with myocardial infarction or peripheral arterial disease who have not had a stroke. On the basis of their recommendation, we and Merck remain committed to completing this important scientific investigation with a potential for a reduction in death and ischemic events in these patients."

The two major clinical endpoint trials to evaluate vorapaxar for the prevention of cardiac events are: TRA-2P (also known as TIMI 50), a study in patients with prior heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease, and TRACER, a study in patients with acute coronary syndrome.

Vorapaxar is a selective PAR-1 (Protease Activated Receptor 1) Thrombin Receptor Antagonist designed to diminish thrombosis (clot formation).

TRA-2P, or TIMI 50, is a chronic care, secondary prevention study of approximately 26,500 patients who have experienced a heart attack, an ischemic stroke, or have documented peripheral vascular disease. In TRA-2P, vorapaxar is administered at a 2.5 mg daily dose. The study completed enrollment in November 2009. ( identifier: NCT00526474; A Trial to Assess the Effects of SCH 530348 in Preventing Heart Attack and Stroke in Patients with Atherosclerosis.)

TRACER is an acute care (hospital-based) study of approximately 13,000 patients with non-ST-segment-elevation acute coronary syndrome. In TRACER, vorapaxar was administered starting with a 40 mg loading dose, followed by a 2.5 mg daily dose. The study completed enrollment in June 2010. ( identifier: NCT00527943; A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of SCH 530348 in Addition to Standard of Care in Subjects With Acute Coronary Syndrome: Thrombin Receptor Antagonist for Clinical Event Reduction in Acute Coronary Syndrome.)

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David Caouette, 908-423-3461
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