Back to top

Analyst Blog

Merck (MRK - Analyst Report) recently presented encouraging phase IIb data on its type II diabetes candidate, MK-3102, at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD). Results from the 12-week multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled dose-ranging study showed that MK-3102 led to a significant reduction in blood sugar compared to placebo. Moreover, MK-3102 was found to be well tolerated with a safety profile similar to placebo.

Merck said that the occurrence of symptomatic hypoglycemia was similar for MK-3102 and placebo. Five doses (0.25, 1, 3, 10 and 25 mg) of MK-3102 were evaluated in the study that was conducted in type II diabetes patients whose glycemic control was not sufficient on diet and exercise.

Merck intends to move MK-3102 into phase III studies. The successful development of MK-3102 would provide type II diabetes patients with a convenient once-weekly treatment option. Merck has a strong presence in the diabetes market in the form of drugs like Januvia, Janumet and Juvisync. The launch of a once-weekly treatment would be a strong addition to the company’s diabetes product portfolio.

The diabetes market, while crowded, represents significant commercial potential. Key players in the diabetes market include Eli Lilly (LLY - Analyst Report) and Novo Nordisk (NVO - Analyst Report) among others.

We note that Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Analyst Report) also presented data on its type II diabetes candidate, canagliflozin at the annual meeting of the EASD. Johnson & Johnson’s canagliflozin led to a significant decline in blood glucose levels when used in addition to insulin therapy compared to placebo. Moreover, patients in the canagliflozin arms experienced a reduction in body weight compared to placebo.

The phase III data was presented from an 18-week sub-study involving 1,718 patients who had been under insulin therapy for an average of 7.1 years. Johnson & Johnson said that two doses of canagliflozin were evaluated in the study – 100 mg and 300 mg. Patients were randomized to receive either canagliflozin dosage or placebo.

Johnson & Johnson has submitted marketing applications in the US and the EU for canagliflozin.

We currently have a Neutral recommendation on both Merck and Johnson & Johnson. While Johnson & Johnson carries a Zacks #2 Rank (short-term ‘Buy’ rating), Merck carries a Zacks #3 Rank (short-term ‘Hold’ rating).


Please login to or register to post a comment.

New to Zacks?

Start Here

Zacks Investment Research


Are you a new Zacks Member or a visitor to

Top Zacks Features

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 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
SUPER MICRO… SMCI 27.00 +10.25%
CANADIAN SO… CSIQ 38.34 +8.18%
CENTURY ALU… CENX 26.97 +7.97%
WILLDAN GRO… WLDN 11.38 +5.86%
AROTECH COR… ARTX 3.78 +5.59%