Merck KGaA's Rebif, Teva's Copaxone similar-study

Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:01am EDT

FRANKFURT Oct 10 (Reuters) - Merck KGaA's (MRCG.DE) Rebif multiple-sclerosis drug is not superior to rival Teva's TEVA.O Copaxone, a study obtained by Reuters on Wednesday showed.

"The number of events (relapses) was insufficient to establish a statistically significant difference between the two products, despite a trend advantage for Rebif," the report said.

The 96-week Phase IV study involving almost 800 patients will be presented at the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) in Prague.

Merck inherited Rebif through its recent 10.2 billion-euro

($14 billion) acquisition of Swiss biotech company Serono.

Serono had hoped to gain market share from Copaxone in the case of a positive outcome from the head-to-head study.

Merck shares were 1.6 percent lower at 88.20 euros at 0908 GMT, compared with a flat blue-chip DAX index .GDAXI.

((Reporting by Mantik Kusjanto; Reuters Messaging: mantik.kusjanto.reuters.com@reuters.net; E-mail: mantik.kusjanto@reuters.com; +49 69 7565 1203))

($1=.7120 Euro) Keywords: MERCKKGAA REBIF/

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