Merck Unveils Alzheimer’s and Diabetes Projects, Personnel Changes

11/10/11Follow @arleneweintraub

Merck (NYSE: MRK) outlined progress on several of the drugs in its pipeline today during its annual R&D and business briefing for Wall Street analysts and investors, which was held at the drug giant’s Whitehouse Station, NJ headquarters.

CEO Kenneth Frazier began the day by acknowledging that Wall Street has been impatient with the company’s progress in advancing novel drugs to market. Despite the fact that the company has won FDA approval for five new products this year—including boceprevir (Victrelis) to treat hepatits C—the company’s stock has been declining over the last six months, dropping from $36 in May to $33.80 yesterday. “We recognize we can’t ask you—our investors—to wait for us to achieve our long-term aspirations,” Frazier told the audience at R&D Day.  ”I want you to know we intend to perform in the short term.”

Merck’s R&D chief Peter Kim started by highlighting several drug candidates in Merck’s late-stage pipeline. Kim reviewed recent data on a range of drugs to treat such conditions as osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, and chronic insomnia. Kim vowed to submit eight new drugs to the FDA for approval in 2012 and 2013.

During R&D day, Merck outlined recent progress on six novel drug candidates, including two the company detailed for the first time. First is MK-3102, an oral drug to treat … Next Page »

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