UK Markets closed

Merck's Heart Failure Candidate Meets Goal in Phase III Study

Zacks Equity Research

Merck & Co., Inc. MRK and German partner Bayer’s BAYRY investigational drug vericiguat met the primary endpoint in a phase III study of patients with worsening chronic heart failure.

The VICTORIA study evaluated vericiguat versus placebo when given in combination with available heart failure therapies in patients with worsening chronic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) also known as systolic heart failure.

Data from the study showed that vericiguat reduced the risk of composite endpoint of heart failure hospitalization or cardiovascular death in such patients compared to placebo. Detailed results from the study will be presented at a future medical meeting.

Merck’s shares have risen 10.1% this year so far compared with the industry’s increase of 4.7%.



Heart failure affects more than 60 million patients globally. Despite huge progress made on addressing this disease, the cardiovascular event rates are high, creating a huge unmet need for new therapies to reduce the risk of death and hospitalizations. In the United States, 6.5 million people suffer heart failure and approximately 40-50% of these have HFrEF. Such patients frequently experience deterioration of the disease and an estimated one in five patients with worsening chronic HFrEF expires within two years.

Novartis NVS Entresto is approved to treat HFrEF. Amgen AMGN and partner Cytokinetics’s pipeline candidate omecamtiv mecarbil is in late-stage development for HFrEF. AstraZeneca’s SGLT2 inhibitor Farxiga is also being evaluated in two phase III studies for HFrEF and heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF).

Merck currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Biggest Tech Breakthrough in a Generation

Be among the early investors in the new type of device that experts say could impact society as much as the discovery of electricity. Current technology will soon be outdated and replaced by these new devices. In the process, it’s expected to create 22 million jobs and generate $12.3 trillion in activity.

A select few stocks could skyrocket the most as rollout accelerates for this new tech. Early investors could see gains similar to buying Microsoft in the 1990s. Zacks’ just-released special report reveals 8 stocks to watch. The report is only available for a limited time.

See 8 breakthrough stocks now>>

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
Novartis AG (NVS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Bayer Aktiengesellschaft (BAYRY) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Amgen Inc. (AMGN) : Free Stock Analysis Report
To read this article on click here.
Zacks Investment Research