An experimental drug against multiple sclerosis (MS) from the German pharmaceutical company Merck appears not to produce the hoped-for results in the final research phase. A heavy blow for Merck, which hoped for a new blockbuster.
This concerns the drug Evobrutinib. In two final-phase clinical trials, it shows “too little effectiveness,” the pharmaceutical company says. MS is a serious chronic disease of the central nervous system. Patients who took the drug Aubagio from competitor Sanofi had fewer relapses than with Evobrutinib. The company speaks of “very disappointing” results.
After the unexpected news, Merck’s shares fell to 14 percent on Wednesday morning. The group was suddenly worth 5 billion euros less. Analysts had thought the MS drug could generate up to 2.5 billion euros a year in revenue. The drug also looked promising for patients, although questions were raised about its safety after two test subjects suffered liver damage.
Merck also did not achieve the expected breakthrough with the cancer drug Bintrafusp-Alfa. The group is still conducting a study on xevinapant, an experimental drug against head and neck tumors. The results of that research will now be followed with even more attention.