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BUSINESS
March 26, 2013 | By Mike Armstrong, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Novira Therapeutics Inc., of Doylestown, has completed its initial $25 million venture financing, after attracting $7.5 million from Versant Ventures. Founded by two former Merck & Co. Inc. executives, Novira is developing antiviral drugs to treat hepatitis B infections. The addition of Versant, with offices in Basel, Switzerland, and San Francisco, increased the amount of the financing from $23 million, announced last August and led by 5AM Ventures and Canaan Partners.   Contact Mike Armstrong at 215-854-2980 or marmstrong@phillynews.com , or @PhillyInc on Twitter.
BUSINESS
March 17, 2013 | By David Sell, Inquirer Staff Writer
Merck & Co. said Friday that a drug designed to help patients coming out of anesthesia after surgery will require three more months of review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Sugammadex sodium is an injectable drug that reverses the muscle-relaxing effects of anesthesia. If approved, the drug would be the first in a new class of medicine in this country. Merck is based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., but has a big operation in West Point, Montgomery County. The European Medicines Agency approved the drug in 2008 and it is sold in Europe under the name Bridion.
BUSINESS
March 3, 2013 | By Linda A. Johnson, Associated Press
Merck & Co. chief executive officer Kenneth C. Frazier is convinced that nearly everyone, from patients to long-term investors, wants the world's third-largest drugmaker to take big risks. So Merck is plunging ahead in one of medicine's toughest challenges - looking for a drug to slow Alzheimer's disease - despite repeated failures that have led most drugmakers to halt or scale back research on the No. 6 killer in the United States. "When people question me, 'Aren't you putting a lot of money at risk for something that's hard?
BUSINESS
February 24, 2013 | By David Sell, Inquirer Staff Writer
Merck & Co. Inc., will pay $8.5 million to settle allegations by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that the drugmaker inappropriately marketed its controversial painkiller Vioxx, which was withdrawn from the market in 2004. State Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane announced that, after attorneys' fees are paid, $6.9 million will go to the PACE program, which helps low-income seniors buy prescription medicine. Vioxx was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1999 but was pulled from the market in 2004 amid reports that it was causing health problems, including heart attacks and strokes.
BUSINESS
February 16, 2013 | By David Sell, Inquirer Staff Writer
Merck & Co. said Thursday that it would pay $668 million to settle two class-action lawsuits by investors who accused the company of not properly disclosing the failure of a cholesterol drug to meet its target in a key clinical trial. Merck's announcement followed a disclosure by Teva Pharmaceuticals Ltd. to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday that after it had already set aside $670 million to cover potential damages in a patent-infringement lawsuit brought by Pfizer Inc., the "ultimate resolution of this matter could result in a loss of up to $1.4 billion" more - a potential total of about $2.1 billion.
NEWS
February 8, 2013 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
DENNIS TINNEY thought nothing of hopping on a plane and winging off to a sporting event somewhere in the world. That was the kind of guy he was. Adventurous, filled with the joy of living and out to conquer the world. He was always full of ideas for moneymaking schemes. And he took charge of his family as a loving patriarch. Dennis Edward Tinney, a 33-year employee of Merck & Co., where he was highly regarded by both superiors and fellow workers, died Jan. 31 of a brain aneurysm.
BUSINESS
February 3, 2013 | By David Sell, Inquirer Staff Writer
Merck's fourth-quarter profit fell 7 percent as sales of its former best-selling drug Singulair were depressed by generic competition, and the company said Friday that it would delay seeking government approval of a much-anticipated osteoporosis drug. Full-year and fourth-quarter 2012 results were released Friday morning by Merck, which is based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., and has a large facility in West Point, Montgomery County. Shares fell 3.3 percent, to close at $41.83. Singulair, a once-a-day pill for chronic asthma, brought in $5.48 billion in 2011 and followed its quarterly average of about $1.3 billion through the first half of 2012.
BUSINESS
November 4, 2012 | By David Sell, Inquirer Staff Writer
Merck & Co. Inc., which made the controversial arthritis painkiller Vioxx, just settled an unusual class-action lawsuit involving Missouri residents who sued on consumer-fraud grounds without having shown that they incurred physical harm. The economic argument was that Vioxx did not provide what Merck claimed it would. Vioxx was on the market from 1999 until it was withdrawn in 2004 because previously hidden clinical trials showed that it caused increased risk of heart attacks. Merck has large operations in the Philadelphia region.
BUSINESS
October 28, 2012 | By David Sell, Inquirer Staff Writer
Drugmaker Merck & Co. Inc. said its third-quarter profits rose 2 percent in part because it cut costs to offset generic competition against key products. Merck is based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., and has several facilities in the Philadelphia region. Merck reported a profit of $1.73 billion for the quarter ending Sept. 30, vs. $1.69 billion for the same period in 2011. Sales revenue fell from just over $12 billion to $11.5 billion for the latest quarter. Worldwide revenue from Merck's top-selling drug, the diabetes medication Januvia, grew 15 percent from $846 million to $975 million.
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