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Merck to stop development of hepatitis C treatments

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09/29/2017 | 02:22pm CEST

(Reuters) - U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co (>> Merck and Company) said on Friday it would discontinue developing an experimental drug combination for chronic hepatitis C, as competition rises and patient population shrinks.

(Reuters) - U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co (>> Merck and Company) said on Friday it would discontinue developing an experimental drug combination for chronic hepatitis C, as competition rises and patient population shrinks.

The decision was made after reviewing mid-stage trial data of the treatments, said the company, which currently sells hepatitis C drug Zepatier.

Merck is the latest drugmaker to move away from the hepatitis C market.

Earlier this month, Janssen Sciences Ireland UC, a unit of Johnson & Johnson (>> Johnson & Johnson), said it would discontinue further development of its hepatitis C research.

Hepatitis C drugmakers have been struggling with slowing sales growth.

Market leader Gilead Sciences (>> Gilead Sciences) has seen total sales of its hepatitis C drugs - Sovaldi, Harvoni and Epclusa - sharply drop to $2.9 billion (2.17 billion pounds) in the second quarter ended June 30 from $4 billion a year earlier.

Hepatitis C causes inflammation of the liver that can lead to diminished organ function or its failure.

An estimated 2.7 million to 3.9 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis C infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

Stocks treated in this article : Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences, Merck and Company
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
GILEAD SCIENCES -0.28% 77.38 Delayed Quote.8.01%
JOHNSON & JOHNSON -1.43% 125.93 Delayed Quote.-9.87%
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Financials ($)
Sales 2018 42 045 M
EBIT 2018 13 545 M
Net income 2018 7 224 M
Debt 2018 15 697 M
Yield 2018 3,10%
P/E ratio 2018 24,14
P/E ratio 2019 16,38
EV / Sales 2018 4,40x
EV / Sales 2019 4,19x
Capitalization 169 B
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Kenneth C. Frazier Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer
Robert M. Davis CFO & Executive Vice President-Global Services
Thomas Henry Glocer Independent Director
Rochelle B. Lazarus Independent Director
Leslie A. Brun Lead Independent Director
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