Merck will continue large study of Vytorin after panel review

March 12 Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:11am EDT

March 12 (Reuters) - Pharmaceutical company Merck & Co Inc said on Tuesday that an independent monitoring board had allowed it to continue with a huge trial assessing the safety and effectiveness of its blockbuster Vytorin cholesterol treatment.

The study, called IMPROVE-IT, will now continue to its conclusion in September 2014, the drugmaker said. The panel's decision suggests that no safety concerns have arisen for Vytorin.

Some analysts had hoped the independent panel, which has the right to peek at data from the ongoing study, would determine the trial had already proven Vytorin's effectiveness, and would order that the trial be halted.

Merck shares rose to $44.25 in pre-market trading from a close of $43.65.

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