Back to top

Analyst Blog

Zacks Equity Research

New Data on Merck's Insomnia Drug

MRK SNY PFE

 ZacksTrade Now

This page is temporarily not available.  Please check later as it should be available shortly. If you have any questions, please email customer support at support@zacks.com or call 800-767-3771 ext.  9339.

Merck & Co. (MRK - Analyst Report) recently presented new data on its insomnia candidate, suvorexant, at the 21st Congress of the European Sleep Research Society (ESRS). Data from a 2-month discontinuation phase post a 12-month phase III study was presented.

It was found that patients who switched to placebo from suvorexant after 12 months, experienced greater difficulty in falling asleep (14.9 minutes longer) and staying asleep (21.6 minutes less) than the patients who continued to take suvorexant. The sleep difficulties experienced by patients who switched from suvorexant to placebo and patients who received placebo during the 12-month trial and continued to receive placebo during the discontinuation phase, were similar.

Importantly, there were no significant withdrawal symptoms or rebound insomnia observed in patients who switched from suvorexant.

In June 2012, Merck had announced new data from two pivotal phase III efficacy trials of suvorexant. Results showed that patients on suvorexant took less time to fall asleep and stayed asleep for a longer time period compared to placebo. Merck expects to file for approval by year end. The company expects the Controlled Substance Staff of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to evaluate the candidate before final approval.
 
If approved suvorexant will be enter the highly genericized insomnia market which includes generic versions of Sanofi’s (SNY - Analyst Report) Ambien/Ambien CR and Pfizer’s (PFE - Analyst Report) Sonata. Other products in this market include Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma’s Lunesta and Purdue Pharma/Transcept Pharma’s Intermezzo.
 
Our Recommendation

We currently have a Neutral recommendation on Merck, which carries a Zacks #3 Rank (short-term Hold rating). Merck is currently facing issues such as the patent expiration of Singulair, EU pricing pressure, US health care reform, the Remicade/Simponi transition and pipeline setbacks.

We believe the company will continue resorting to cost-cutting initiatives to drive the bottom line. Meanwhile, some of the company’s recent launches should start contributing significantly to the top line in the forthcoming quarters.

Please login to Zacks.com or register to post a comment.

New to Zacks?

Start Here

Zacks Investment Research

Close

Are you a new Zacks Member or a visitor to Zacks.com?

Top Zacks Features

Learn more

Start for as little as $4.50 per trade.

My Portfolio Tracker

Is it Time to Sell?

One of the most important steps you can take today is to set up your portfolio tracker on Zacks.com. Once you do, you'll be notified of major events affecting your stocks and/or funds with daily email alerts.

More Zacks Resources

Zacks Rank Home - Evaluate your stocks and use the Zacks Rank to eliminate the losers and keep the winners.

Mutual Fund Rank Home - Evaluate your funds with the Mutual Fund Rank for both your personal and retirement funds.

Stock/Mutual Fund Screening - Find better stocks and mutual funds. The ones most likely to beat the market and provide a positive return.

My Portfolio - Track your Portfolio and find out where your stocks/mutual funds stack up with the Zacks Rank.

Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers for Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers

Company Symbol Price %Chg
DIXIE GRP IN DXYN 15.84 +7.90%
BOFI HLDG IN BOFI 85.30 +4.97%
RAMBUS INC RMBS 12.31 +4.41%
VIPSHOP HOLD VIPS 148.73 +4.35%
NETFLIX INC NFLX 345.74 +4.32%