Saturday, September 25, 2010

Vorapaxar: Merck's most promising experimental medicine?

Earlier this month, I was reading a Reuters report on vorapaxar (previously known as SCH 530348). Here's what the story said:
Industry analysts have dubbed Vorapaxar, now in late-stage trials among thousands of patients with a history of heart disease, Merck's most promising experimental medicine. Cowen and Co predicts it will generate annual sales of $1 billion by 2015.
Why such optimism? Vorapaxar does not appear to increase bleeding risks. Here's what the report says:
Merck & Co's (MRK.N) experimental drug to prevent blood clots is unlikely to increase bleeding risk, a potential boon to heart patients that would distinguish it from standard treatments...
What makes vorapaxar so unique? It has a different mechanism of action and if it's approved by the FDA, then it would emerge as the first of its class:
Vorapaxar works through a new mechanism -- by blocking a receptor to thrombin, a protein highly involved in the clotting process. The product, which Merck acquired through its $41 billion merger with Schering-Plough Corp last November, is widely known by its nickname TRA (thrombin receptor antagonist).

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