MERCK KGAA HALTS DEVELOPMENT OF PARKINSON'S DRUG

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Germany-based Merck KGaA will suspend development of a new treatment for Parkinson's disease after clinical trials failed to confirm the results of earlier studies, the company said.

Phase III clinical studies of Sarizotan 1-mg tablets failed to confirm both Phase II findings and the results of preclinical studies. Based on these results, "Merck does not plan to pursue further development of this compound," the company said.

The two placebo-controlled double-blind Phase III studies of Sarizotan were performed in 15 countries in more than 1,000 Parkinson's patients with disabling dyskinesia, a condition marked by involuntary movements.

The studies, however, did not demonstrate a statistically significant difference of the primary target variable between Sarizotan and placebo.