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This Data Signals The End For Merck's Anacetrapib


The ACCELERATE study data for Evacetrapib, which is a selective inhibitor of cholesteryl ester transfer protein [CETP] of Eli Lilly and Co (NYSE: LLY), was presented at the 2016 American College of Cardiology Conference.

Leerink’s Seamus Fernandez mentioned that the data “clearly suggests that CETP inhibition does not reduce cardiovascular (CV) events despite significantly lowering LDL-C and raising HDL-C.” This leaves anacetrapib, being developed by Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK), as the only CETP inhibitor in Phase III development.

The drug’s REVEAL CV outcome trial is still ongoing, with top line results expected in 2017. Analyst Seamus Fernandez said, however, that it is “unlikely to demonstrate a clinically meaningful CV risk benefit, in our view, based on what we saw in the evacetrapib data.”

Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) also has a CETP inhibitor, TA-8995, which it acquired from Dezima in 2015. The Phase II studies have been completed, but the company is unlikely to “take the asset forward,” Fernandez commented.

“Why the LDL-C reduction through CETP inhibition does not lead to a corresponding CV risk reduction is still unclear. What we conclude from the data, however, is that the CETP inhibition is simply not a viable therapeutic target, leaving little hope for anacetrapib in our view,” the analyst wrote.


Leerink has Market Perform ratings for both Merck and Amgen, and an Outperform rating for Eli Lilly.

Latest Ratings for MRK

Nov 2020BernsteinReinstatesOutperform
Oct 2020SVB LeerinkMaintainsOutperform
Oct 2020Truist SecuritiesInitiates Coverage OnBuy

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