September 26th, 2012

Merck Returns to Cardiome All Rights to Atrial Fibrillation Drug Vernakalant

Merck and Cardiome announced today that Merck is returning to Cardiome all marketing and development rights for the atrial fibrillation (AF) drug vernakalant. An intravenous formulation of vernakalant is marketed in Europe as Brinavess. It has not been approved in the United States, though it received a positive recommendation from the FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee in 2007.

Earlier this year, as reported here, Merck announced that it was ending its involvement in the development of an oral formulation of vernakalant.

During a conference call, Dr. William Hunter, the interim CEO of Cardiome, expressed confidence that the company would go forward with vernakalant. He pointed out that “what constitutes an opportunity for Cardiome is probably very different than what constitutes one for a global corporation the size of Merck.” In a press release, Hunter stated: “Cardiome looks forward to continued advancement of the launch of BRINAVESS IV worldwide and welcomes the opportunity to continue development of vernakalant oral worldwide and vernakalant IV in North America.”

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