Thursday, March 4, 2010

In Vivo Finds A Needle -- In Merck's SEC Form 10-K Haystack

The InVivo Blog has the scoop, here. Strictly on the D/L, D/L* -- though, as neither party has seen fit to make a press release, "Investor FAQ", or other public comment about it, mind you:

It seems New Merck has quietly terminated development of MK-2866, a selective androgen receptor modulator -- it hoped could be used to treat muscle and bone disorders. Back in 2007, Merck paid $40 million in up-front fees to license the candidate from GTx. Its GTx chemical name is Ostarine -- I guess now it ought to be called NOstarine -- per page 128 of Monday's Merck Form 10-K:

. . . .Old Merck and GTx, Inc. (“GTx”) entered into an agreement providing for a research and development and global strategic collaboration for selective androgen receptor modulators (“SARMs”), a new class of drugs with the potential to treat age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia) as well as other musculoskeletal conditions. Merck has discontinued internal development of MK-2866 (which is a SARM) under this agreement, and is currently discussing next steps with GTx. . . .

As InVivo points out, GTx will likely see its stock price decline, as a result -- with milestone completions, the MK 2866 deal would have paid GTx up to $462 million. Not any longer, it would seem.

So the rationalization and prioritization of New Merck's R&D continues.

* D/L, D/L is "on the down-low, down-low" -- essentially through clenched teeth, that is. I'll be on jets most of the day, so this will likely be the only post for March 4, 2010. Keep it spinnin' in Good Karma!


Anonymous said...


WSJ reports possible increased prosecution of drug company execs for criminal misdemeanors by FDA OCI. Although this would only be misdemeanor prosecution (< 1 yr jail and/or small fines) it would also mean that these individuals would be disbarred from ever working on (or I believe for anyone) involved in FDA submissions effectively ending their careers. It would also have implications for the companies themselves.



Condor said...

Thanks for the heads up!

Will make it a new post tonight -- in a cab in DC, at the moment.


Anonymous said...

Wow...this is huge! I just found out about this as BioWorld just picked up on the scent:

Can you imagine the balls on these guys? Did they really think they could sweep this under the rug?

Losing a $500 mil development milestone plus royalties on net sales Ph3 near ready program? How can this possibly be a minor event to a company with just ~$55 mil in cash and a market cap of just ~$130 Mil?

condor said...

Indeed -- quite bizaare.

It could be that GTx hopes to announce a replacement collaborator on the upcoming March 15, 2010 year-end call -- but more likely, it will be some layoff announcements, and retooling charges.

We'll see.

Thanks for the link -- I just made it a new post, above!

Do stop back.