Merck, Schering-Plough Collaborating On New Cholesterol-Reducing Drug

New drug introduction will coincide with patent expirations for current drugs in use.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced Monday that they will collaborate with Schering-Plough Corp. to develop a new cholesterol-lowering medication, a ezetimibe and atorvastatin combination product.

In 2000, Merck and Schering-Plough formed a joint venture, Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, to develop and market new prescription medicines in cholesterol management and respiratory disease.

The joint venture/partnership markets the cholesterol-controlling drugs ZETIA and VYTORIN in the U.S.

The combination product will be timed to be available as patents begin to expire for atorvastatins in the U.S. and internatinally.

The cholesterol-management market is one of the largest worldwide, with total global sales of $32 billion and U.S. sales in the U.S. of $22 billion in 2006.


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