Mer­ck her­alds a rare Big Phar­ma suc­cess for an­tibi­ot­ic PhI­II, but it’s al­so a cau­tion­ary tale about the mar­ket

When Mer­ck $MRK bought out Cu­bist close to 5 years ago for $9.5 bil­lion, the sell-side crowd stoked con­sid­er­able en­thu­si­asm for Zer­baxa, a late-stage an­tibi­ot­ic that was tapped for peak sales in the lofty block­buster range of $1.2 bil­lion to $1.5 bil­lion or so.

To­day, Mer­ck boast­ed that their an­tibi­ot­ic (ceftolozane and tazobac­tam) — al­ready OK’d sev­er­al years ago for com­pli­cat­ed uri­nary tract in­fec­tions — scored in a late-stage non-in­fe­ri­or­i­ty show­down with meropen­em for ei­ther ven­ti­lat­ed hos­pi­tal-ac­quired bac­te­r­i­al pneu­mo­nia or ven­ti­la­tor-as­so­ci­at­ed bac­te­r­i­al pneu­mo­nia. 

Endpoints News

Unlock this article instantly by becoming a free subscriber.

You’ll get access to free articles each month, plus you can customize what newsletters get delivered to your inbox each week, including breaking news.