Merck to seek new drug approvals

Merck & Co. plans to file five new drug applications this year but said it has ended development of its first stab at a follow-on biologic drug, illustrating the risks of this emerging field.

At a meeting with analysts and investors Tuesday, executives touted the company’s drug research pipeline, newly enriched by its $49.6 billion takeover of Schering-Plough in October. The deal was meant to address what had previously been a gap in Merck’s late-stage pipeline of experimental drugs. Merck plans to file for regulatory approval of drugs to treat diabetes, hepatitis C and cancer this year.

[Wall Street Journal]