NJ Star-Ledger On Anacetrapib: Outlook Not Clear

Susan Todd, writing this morning for the New Jersey Star Ledger, has a very balanced view of the Merck CETP inhibitor’s chances — including the idea that Roche’s CETP candidate may beat Merck’s to market by more than two years — do go read it all:

. . . .The drugmaker will move anacetrapib into a final phase of development, a clinical study involving 30,000 patients.

The study will show, among other things, whether the drug works to lower heart attacks and deaths.

Meanwhile, it also faces the prospect that if it succeeds in pushing anacetrapib onto the market, it will face immediate competition for sales.

The Swiss drugmaker Roche is also working on a CETP inhibitor, and industry analysts expect Roche could have its drug on the market two years ahead of Merck. . . .

One sign of the uncertainty that remains: The stock market barely reacted to the results of the company’s study were announced at the American Heart Association’s conference in Chicago.

“You’re talking about something that’s [at least] five years away,” Butler said. “The market thinks it still might fail. . . .”

Indeed — I think that is a very accurate assessment — it is good news, but it is far from a certainty that Merck’s candidate will ultimately win approval, or win in the market. Here’s to hopin‘ though!


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