Arena Pharmaceuticals Announces Update on Partnership With Merck in Development of Niacin Receptor Agonists
SAN DIEGO, Sept. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
(Nasdaq: ARNA) announced today that an investigational niacin receptor agonist
that was being developed under its partnership with Merck & Co., Inc. to
develop drugs for the treatment of atherosclerosis and other disorders is no
longer in development for the treatment of atherosclerosis.
Merck made the decision to discontinue development of MK-0354 following
completion of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 clinical
trial that evaluated patients with dyslipidemia. Although MK-0354 is no
longer being developed for the treatment of atherosclerosis, preclinical
studies are underway to explore other possible indications for this compound.
Also, exploration of additional investigational niacin receptor agonists for
the treatment of atherosclerosis and related disorders will continue under the
"The data from the clinical trials of MK-0354 have provided valuable
information and add to our understanding of the niacin receptor as we continue
to evaluate its therapeutic potential," said Jack Lief, President and Chief
Executive Officer of Arena. "We are pleased that, together with Merck, we
will continue to conduct research to assess the therapeutic potential of
MK-0354 and other niacin receptor agonists."
"We look forward to further evaluating the therapeutic potential of niacin
receptor agonists through our partnership with Arena," said Kathleen Metters,
Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Basic Research, Merck Research Laboratories.
Atherosclerosis is characterized by the collection of fatty material
deposits, such as cholesterol, along artery walls. This fatty material
thickens, hardens, and may eventually block the arteries, adversely affecting
blood flow and increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke over time.
Atherosclerosis accounts for nearly three out of every four deaths from
cardiovascular disease. In 1999, U.S. community hospitals billed
$26.2 billion for coronary atherosclerosis care. HDL cholesterol, commonly
known as the "good" cholesterol, can help clear the fatty deposits from the
walls of blood vessels and transport cholesterol to the liver for processing
and removal from the body. Drugs that can influence the levels of HDL
cholesterol, or "good" cholesterol, may potentially provide clinical benefits
to patients by reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. The niacin
receptor, a G protein-coupled receptor, or GPCR, is believed to have potential
in regulating plasma lipid profiles, including HDL.
About Arena Pharmaceuticals
Arena is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on
discovering, developing and commercializing oral drugs in four major
therapeutic areas: cardiovascular, central nervous system, inflammatory, and
metabolic diseases. Arena's most advanced product candidate, lorcaserin, is
being investigated in a Phase 3 clinical trial program for the treatment of
obesity. Arena's broad pipeline of novel compounds targeting G protein-coupled
receptors, an important class of validated drug targets, includes compounds
being evaluated for other serious diseases and disorders independently and
with our partners, Merck & Co., Inc. and Ortho-McNeil, Inc.
Arena Pharmaceuticals® and Arena® are registered service marks of the
company. CART is an unregistered service mark of the company. "APD" is
an abbreviation for Arena Pharmaceuticals Development.
Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements
that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Such forward-looking
statements include statements about future testing and exploration of
MK-0354 and other niacin receptor agonists, the continuation of the
collaboration with Merck and expected activities thereunder, and other
statements about Arena's strategy and ability to develop compounds and
commercialize drugs. For such statements, Arena claims the protection of the
Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual events or results
may differ materially from Arena's expectations. Factors that could cause
actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements
include, but are not limited to, Arena's planned clinical trials and studies
may not proceed at the time or in the manner Arena expects or at all; the
results of preclinical studies or clinical trials may not be predictive of
future results; the timing, success and cost of Arena's research and
development; Arena's ability to partner lorcaserin, APD125 or other of its
compounds or programs; Arena's ability to obtain additional financing; Arena's
ability to obtain and defend its patents; and the timing and receipt of
payments and fees, if any, from Arena's collaborators. Additional factors
that could cause actual results to differ materially from those stated or
implied by Arena's forward-looking statements are disclosed in Arena's filings
with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements
represent Arena's judgment as of the time of this release. Arena disclaims
any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements, other
than as may be required under applicable law.
SOURCE Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
CONTACT: Jack Lief, President and CEO, or David Walsey, Director,
Corporate Communications, both of Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.,
+1-858-453-7200, ext. 1682; or Carolyn Wang, Media Relations of WeissComm
Partners, +1-415-946-1065, for Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
/Web site: http://www.arenapharm.com/