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12:00 AM
 | 
Jul 23, 2012
 |  BioCentury  |  Product Development

Merck's special K

Phase III data to dictate when Merck's odanacatib will be used for osteoporosis

Odanacatib outperformed placebo in a Phase III trial for postmenopausal osteoporosis based on top-line results reported by Merck & Co. Inc., but the cathepsin K inhibitor's safety profile and data on fracture reductions likely will dictate if it can jump to front of the line for second-line use behind generic oral bisphosphonates.

The pharma plans to unveil detailed results from the study and submit global marketing applications in 1H13.

Ian Reid, a professor of medicine at the University of Auckland, said oral bisphosphonates will be difficult to displace as the most commonly prescribed drugs for managing postmenopausal osteoporosis. As generic pills given daily or weekly, they are cheap, easy to manage and relatively effective.

Nonetheless, studies show two-year compliance with oral bisphosphonates is less than 50%, in part because of side effects that include gastrointestinal problems, renal toxicity and osteonecrosis of the jaw.

A logical market opportunity for odanacatib (formerly MK-0822) thus could be the millions of postmenopausal women who are unable to...

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