Merck & Co. halts development of experimental Parkinson's disease drug preladenant

Merck & Co. on Thursday announced that it is discontinuing the clinical programme for its investigational Parkinson's disease drug preladenant because a preliminary review of data from three Phase III trials failed to provide evidence of the drug's efficacy, compared with placebo. The company specified that it no longer plans to pursue regulatory filings for the adenosine A2A receptor antagonist and noted that the decision to discontinue the studies is not based on any safety finding.

The Phase III clinical programme for preladenant included three randomised trials to evaluate safety and efficacy. Two of these studies assessed preladenant when combined with levodopa therapy in patients with moderate-to-severe Parkinson's disease, and one assessed preladenant as monotherapy in early stages of the disease.

Vice-president, clinical research, Neuroscience and Ophthalmology at Merck Research Laboratories, David Michelson, said the company will conduct further analyses of the data to help find new approaches to treat Parkinson's disease. The results of the studies will be presented at an upcoming scientific meeting and will be submitted for publication in a medical journal.

Cowen & Co. had predicted preladenant would generate annual sales of $200 million by 2016.

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