October 17, 2011 / 9:41 AM / 9 years ago

Merck ends osteoporosis drug deal with Japan Tobacco

TOKYO, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Merck & Co has ended a licensing agreement with Japan Tobacco to develop and market an experimental agent that stimulates bone growth for the treatment of osteoporosis, which the Japanese company said it would now drop from development.

Japan Tobacco said the decision would have a minor impact on its earnings, although it gave no details.

The two firms concluded the deal in 2008, giving Merck worldwide rights outside of Japan to develop and market the Japan Tobacco compound.

Japan Tobacco is the world’s third-largest cigarette maker but has been pushing into the pharmaceutical sector to offset lost profits from shrinking domestic demand for tobacco products.

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