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Merck & Co. scraps regulatory approval plans for cholesterol drug

Merck & Co. Inc. has decided not to pursue regulatory approval for its investigational cholesterol drug anacetrapib.

The decision comes after a thorough review of the clinical profile of anacetrapib, including discussions with external experts.

"We are deeply grateful to the researchers and patients who participated in the anacetrapib clinical development program, and in particular the REVEAL outcomes study. Unfortunately, after comprehensive evaluation, we have concluded that the clinical profile for anacetrapib does not support regulatory filings," said Roger Perlmutter, president, Merck Research Laboratories.

Merck announced in June that the trial met its primary goal, but did not unveil the details.

Detailed data from the company's phase 3 REVEAL trial, presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting, showed that the drug cut the risk of heart attacks and death in patients by 9%.

However, the blood protein inhibitor missed its key secondary endpoint due to a lack of observed benefit on presumed ischemic stroke, which results from an obstruction in a blood vessel carrying blood to the brain.