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Merck restructures R&D as diabetes drugs fail


Germany-based drugmaker Merck KGaA has launched a major restructuring of its R&D activities after shelving two of its early-stage diabetes product candidates, EML 16336, an insulin mimetic, and the aldose reductase inhibitor IDD 676.

The decision was taken because of disappointing results in early-stage testing and a decision to focus on the company's activities in oncology, said the firm, which added that the restructuring would cost in the region of €100-€200 million. The latest effort comes in addition to the already announced performance review of its international pharmaceutical production and supply chain organisation.

In March, Merck told shareholders that another diabetes candidate, an insulin secretagogue called EML 16257, had been dropped from the pipeline, and last month it stopped development of vilazodone, an antidepressant partnered with GlaxoSmithKline.

It is not yet clear what the impact of the restructuring will have on Merck's R&D facilities in France, where most of its diabetes research has been undertaken.

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