Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that the New Drug Application (NDA) for suvorexant, the company's investigational insomnia medicine, has been accepted for standard review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Suvorexant will be evaluated by the Controlled Substance Staff of the FDA during NDA review. If approved by the FDA, suvorexant will become available after a schedule assessment and determination has been completed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which routinely occurs after FDA approval. The company is continuing with plans to seek approval for suvorexant in other countries around the world. The NDA for suvorexant was based on data from a broad clinical development program, including: two pivotal, three-month efficacy trials that evaluated the ability of suvorexant to help patients fall asleep and stay asleep; a 12-month study, followed by a two-month discontinuation phase, that was designed to assess the safety of suvorexant, while also evaluating its longer term efficacy and the impact of stopping treatment; and two next-day driving studies that provided an assessment of residual effects following evening use of suvorexant. "The discovery and development of innovative medicines that help patients is our goal at Merck, and insomnia is a common disorder where patients are seeking new treatments," said Darryle D. Schoepp, Ph.D., senior vice president and franchise head, Neuroscience and Ophthalmology, Merck Research Laboratories. "Suvorexant is a novel mechanism for the treatment of insomnia, and the filing of suvorexant is an example of Merck's commitment to patients and to scientific excellence." Merck researchers developed suvorexant to target and block orexins, chemical messengers that help to keep you awake. By temporarily blocking the actions of orexins, suvorexant helps to facilitate sleep. If approved, suvorexant would be the first in a new class of medicines, called orexin receptor antagonists, for use in patients with difficulty falling or staying asleep.
About MerckToday'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. 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. The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements: the possibility that all of the expected synergies from the merger of Merck and Schering-Plough will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; Merck’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation and/or regulatory actions. Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Merck’s 2011 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site ( www.sec.gov).