April 30, 2008 / 1:03 PM / in 10 years

Merck KGaA starts mid-stage multiple-sclerosis trial

FRANKFURT, April 30 (Reuters) - Merck KGaA (MRCG.DE) has started a mid-stage trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of atacicept in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis, the German drugs and chemicals group said on Wednesday.

“Atacicept has the potential to complement existing multiple-sclerosis drugs by offering a novel mode of action and convenient administration,” said Anton Hoos, head of global development at Merck Serono, the drug arm of Merck KGaA.

    Merck, which starts the study with ZymoGenetics ZGEN.O, said the trial will last over 36 weeks, with the main objective looking at reducing central nervous system inflammation in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis.

    Merck shares were up 0.4 percent at 91.50 euros at 1200 GMT, compared with a 0.2 percent fall in the German blue-chip DAX index .GDAXI. (Reporting by Mantik Kusjanto)

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