Given Merck’s long and cordial history with Canada’s Cardiome (traded on the NASDAQ and the Toronto Exchange) — especially related to Merck’s now-largely shuttered oral MK-6621 program at MRL (the compound is called vernakalant, and is branded in some geographies as BrinavessTM) — I thought I’d mention that, as of last Tuesday, the gentleman most-recently in charge of Merck’s vernakalant program, has taken a job as the General Manager of European sales and marketing at Cardiome. As we preiously reported, Merck has returned its rights to MK-6621 to Cardiome, and accepted a reduced payoff on the debt Cardiome owed Merck.
Here is a bit of the press release, from Cardiome. This is a good hire for them:
. . . .“We are extremely pleased to have Dr. Polifka join Cardiome at such a critical time in its history,” said Karim Lalji, Cardiome’s Chief Commercial Officer. “His personal experience with BRINAVESS™ (vernakalant IV) at MSD and deep understanding of the European hospital and cardiovascular markets will be invaluable as Cardiome assumes commercialization responsibility for BRINAVESS™ in Europe.”
Dr. Polifka has over 16 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, primarily in various senior sales and marketing roles at Merck, Sharp & Dohme (MSD). Most recently, he was the Regional Marketing Leader Hospital Care for a portfolio of products that included BRINAVESS™. He was also the Regional Marketing Leader BRINAVESS™ for Europe and Canada with responsibility for all commercial activities around the BRINAVESS™ launch in Europe. He joined MSD in 1996 and progressively moved into roles of increasing responsibility including Product Manager, Marketing and Sales Manager, Director Hospital and Specialty Products, Brand Leader and Regional Marketing Leader for various products in infectious disease and cardiovascular care. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the Max-Planck Institute for Coal Research. . . .
We wish Jürgen the best — and will remain hopeful that this R&D will ultimately lead to an approvable US product.