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Merck to stop development of hepatitis C treatments

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09/29/2017 | 02:22pm CET

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.

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
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Financials ($)
Sales 2017 40 231 M
EBIT 2017 13 720 M
Net income 2017 5 277 M
Debt 2017 13 787 M
Yield 2017 3,36%
P/E ratio 2017 27,55
P/E ratio 2018 18,13
EV / Sales 2017 4,16x
EV / Sales 2018 4,04x
Capitalization 153 B
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Average target price 65,4 $
Spread / Average Target 16%
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Kenneth C. Frazier Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer
Robert M. Davis CFO & Executive Vice President-Global Services
Clark Golestani Chief Information Officer & Executive VP
Roy D. Baynes Chief Medical Officer
Thomas Henry Glocer Independent Director
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