March 28, 2020 / 4:00 PM / 2 months ago

Merck and Bayer's heart drug vericiguat meets primary efficacy endpoint in Phase 3 study

FILE PHOTO: The Merck logo is seen at a gate to the Merck & Co campus in Linden, New Jersey, U.S., July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) said on Saturday that vericiguat, an investigational drug for patients with worsening chronic heart failure, met the primary efficacy endpoint in the VICTORIA trial.

The VICTORIA trial is a Phase 3 study evaluating the efficacy and safety of the drug vericiguat, which is being jointly developed with Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE), the company said.

Compared with a placebo, the drug reduced the risk of heart failure hospitalization or cardiovascular death in heart failure patients with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) when given in combination with available therapies, Merck said.

HFrEF, formerly known as systolic heart failure, is characterized by the compromised ability of the heart to eject blood sufficiently during its contraction phase.

In the United States, 6.5 million people have heart failure, and about 40% to 50% of these patients have HFrEF, the company added.

Merck and Bayer plan to share VICTORIA data with regulatory authorities worldwide, the company said.

Reporting by Rishika Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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