Merck Halts Study of Experimental Alzheimer's Treatment

Merck & Co. Inc. said it is stopping mid-stage clinical testing of an experimental treatment for mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

The North Jersey pharmaceutical giant, which has a large research and manufacturing campus in West Point, Pennsylvania, said it was halting the study of verubecestat, following the recommendation of an external data monitoring committee. The committee, after conducting an interim safety analysis, determined there was “virtually no chance of finding a positive clinical effect.”

Earlier this year another Big Pharma company, Eli Lilly and Co. of Indianapolis, stopped work on its new drug candidate for Alzheimer’s disease after the experimental therapy failed in clinical testing.

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive degeneration of the brain and the most common form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

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