Nov 13 Merck & Co no longer plans to
develop a drug to treat type 2 diabetes that would have combined
its largest selling diabetes drug, Januvia, with a generic
version of Pfizer Inc's cholesterol drug Lipitor.
Merck, one of the country's largest drugmakers, said in a
regulatory filing on Friday that it decided to stop clinical
development of the program for business reasons.
The decision is not related to any concerns about the safety
of the two drugs, according to Merck spokeswoman Pam Eisele.
According to the company's website, the drug, which was
called MK-0431E, was in late-stage development.
Merck already sells Juvisync, a combination of Januvia with
simvastatin, a member of the statin class of cholesterol
fighters that include Lipitor. Merck sells simvastatin, which is
almost as potent in cutting "bad" LDL cholesterol as Lipitor,
under the brand name Zocor. Many other drugmakers sell generic
forms of simvastatin.
Companies have been testing combination drugs as they look
for ways to cut down on the number of medications that
Merck shares were up 0.4 percent at $44.18 in early
The company has estimated that 20 million people in the
United States have type 2 diabetes, an illness closely linked to
obesity and the most common form of diabetes.
Sufferers of the disease often also have high cholesterol
levels, which raise the risk of heart attack, stroke and other