Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today issued the following statement after the conclusion of the Allergenic Products Advisory Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) meeting to discuss GRASTEK ® (Timothy grass pollen allergen extract). GRASTEK is the proposed trade name for the company’s investigational sublingual tablet for the treatment of Timothy grass induced allergic rhinitis, with or without conjunctivitis, in appropriate adult and pediatric patients who are candidates for immunotherapy. “We are pleased with the positive discussion of GRASTEK at today's advisory committee meeting,” said Dr. Sean Curtis, vice president, Respiratory and Immunology, Merck Research Laboratories. “We believe GRASTEK has the potential to be an important new oral therapeutic option for allergy specialists and their patients who continue to suffer with Timothy grass pollen induced allergic rhinitis, and we look forward to continuing to work with the FDA as the agency completes its review of our biologics license application for GRASTEK.” The FDA is not bound by the Committee’s guidance, but takes its advice into consideration when reviewing investigational medicines. Merck anticipates the FDA’s review of GRASTEK to be completed in the first half of 2014. GRASTEK is designed to help treat the underlying cause of allergic rhinitis by generating an immune response to help protect patients against Timothy grass pollen. Merck has partnered with ALK-Abello to develop its investigational sublingual allergy immunotherapy tablets for Timothy grass pollen, ragweed pollen and house dust mite induced allergic rhinitis in North America. 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. 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. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. There can be no guarantees with respect to pipeline products that the products will receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that they will prove to be commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.
Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; Merck’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent 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 2012 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).