VANCOUVER, Canada and WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., Sept. 26, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cardiome Pharma Corp. (Nasdaq:CRME) (TSX:COM) and Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that Merck will return the global marketing and development rights for both the intravenous (IV) and oral formulations for vernakalant to Cardiome. Vernakalant IV is marketed, in certain countries, under the brand name BRINAVESS. TM BRINAVESS was approved in the European Union on September 1, 2010 for the rapid conversion of recent onset atrial fibrillation (AF) to sinus rhythm in adults: for non-surgery patients with AF of seven days or less and for post-cardiac surgery patients with AF of three days or less. Vernakalant IV is not approved for use in the United States or Canada. The companies said that they will work together to smoothly transition activities and ensure continued availability of the product to physicians and patients in countries where the medicine is approved. "We have made a business decision to return the rights for Vernakalant to Cardiome," said Michael Mendelsohn, M.D., senior vice president & head, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular research, Merck Research Laboratories. "We continue to support the safety and efficacy profile of vernakalant. We look forward to working with Cardiome to conduct a transition that has the best interests of patients and their physicians in mind. Merck remains committed to developing new drugs for cardiovascular diseases." "Cardiome looks forward to continued advancement of the launch of BRINAVESS IV worldwide and welcomes the opportunity to continue development of vernakalant oral worldwide and vernakalant IV in North America," said Dr. William Hunter, Interim CEO of Cardiome. "We thank Merck for its contribution to the Vernakalant program and anticipate a smooth transition for the physicians and patients who rely on BRINAVESS." About Merck Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. About Cardiome Pharma Corp. Cardiome Pharma Corp. is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of new therapies that will improve the health of patients around the world. Cardiome has one marketed product, Brinavess TM (vernakalant IV), approved in Europe and other territories for the rapid conversion of recent onset atrial fibrillation to sinus rhythm in adults. Cardiome is traded on the NASDAQ Global Market (CRME) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (COM). For more information, please visit our web site at www.cardiome.com . Merck Forward-Looking Statement This news release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements may include, but are not limited to, statements about the benefits of the merger between Merck and Schering-Plough, including future financial and operating results, the combined company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical facts. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck's management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.