The Most Ominous Line — for Schering — in Merck’s Q2 Press Release, tonight?

UPDATED — 11 AM EDT: Though clearly not fully-intending to do so, the generally very-pro-Schering-Plough web site “In the Pipeline” (Derek is an ex-Schering science guy) — seems to be throwing in the towel on the Cholesterol Joint Venture. He adds detailed credence to the thesis that the Joint Venture is coming to an end — albeit not directly.

He writes of SEAS . . . .put out press releases that your compound, even though it failed to work again, isn’t actually a cancer risk. You really couldn’t do worse; a gang of saboteurs couldn’t have done worse. Of course, there’s no such gang: the companies themselves authorized these trials, thinking that there were home runs to be hit. But all these sidelines — familial hypercholesteremia, aortic stenosis — have only sown fear, confusion, and doubt. . . . .

[Emphasis supplied.]


From CEO Dick Clark’s first full paragraph after the first two tables [emphasis supplied; link to the full release]:

“. . . .Earlier today, data for the SEAS study was presented by the primary investigator,” he said. “We are moving quickly to fully assess the potential implications of the data for our cholesterol joint venture. . . .”

The bolded bit could be read to suggest one possible “implication” for the Joint Venture. . . . would be its end.

Am I reading too much into his statement, here? Let me know.

3 responses to “The Most Ominous Line — for Schering — in Merck’s Q2 Press Release, tonight?

  1. i’m at a loss over today’s up tic for S/P while Merck was hammered. Given that zetia/vytorin contributes more to S/P’s bottom line than it does to Merck, I would have expected more downside to today’s trading. I also noticed that NICE has said ‘no’ to switching patients that fail one TNF inhibitor to another one. That cannot be good news for S/P and Centacor program for a 2nd generation anti-TNF.

    I guess time will tell.

  2. Exactly, anon.

    I’ll follow up on the Centacor lead, shortly — I hadn’t seen that.


  3. Here’s an article:

    UK’s NICE rejects second go with arthritis drugs

    Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:32pm EDT
    LONDON, July 21 (Reuters) – Three rheumatoid arthritis drugs should not be given to patients on Britain’s state-run health service when similar drugs have already failed, the country’s healthcare cost-effectiveness body said on Monday.

    The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said it was not recommending Humira, Enbrel or Remicade for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis after the failure of a previous tumour necrosis factor alpha inhibitor.

    Humira is sold in Europe by Abbott Laboratories Inc (ABT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Enbrel by Wyeth (WYE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Remicade by Schering-Plough Corp (SGP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

    All three anti-TNF medicines work in a similar way, by blocking an inflammatory protein involved in the painful joint disorder.

    They have become blockbuster sellers and Abbott predicted last week its Humira medicine would generate worldwide sales of more than $4.3 billion this year.

    Their use on the British National Health Service is controversial, however, because of their high cost, which can exceed 10,000 pounds ($20,000) per patient a year.

    NICE agreed last year to reconsider its earlier draft guidance preventing patients from trying a second anti-TNF treatment if the first did not work.

    But, in the event, the watchdog concluded in its final appraisal determination that giving a second similar medicine was not a cost-effective use of resources. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Sue Thomas)

    BTW:-golimumab is the joint venture with J+J/Centecor.

    Lots of $ in the use anti-TNF but, if they won’t favor a ‘replacement’ if one of the others fail, why develop an new one?

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