Merck tests innovative Cardiovascular drugs Phase II

studies under way Darmstadt (ots) - Merck KGaA has several cardiovascular compounds currently in clinical and preclinical development phases. The target of these drugs is the prevention and the treatment of acute cardiovascular diseases and their consequences. The most advanced project is the novel Sodium(Na+)/ Proton(H+) exchange (NHE) inhibitor, Eniporide (EMD 96785). Eniporide inhibits NHE in the myocardial cell and thus limits cell necrosis occurring upon cardiac ischemia/reperfusion by blocking rapid ion exchange. NHE inhibition is one of the most promising therapeutic approaches in the cardiovascular field over the next decade and Eniporide has the potential to become a major breakthrough in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Eniporide is currently being investigated as an i.v. formulation in a phase II dose finding trial in AMI patients: ESCAMI (Evaluation of the Safety and Cardioprotective effects of Eniporide in patients undergoing reperfusion therapy for AMI). An interim analysis based on more than 400 patients was performed in late May 1999. It was concluded that the study will continue. More than 1000 patients will be enrolled in the ESCAMI trial. Final results of ESCAMI are expected by early 2000. A large scale international phase III trial is planned to start in 2000, while launch is expected in 2003 at the earliest. More than 3 million AMIs occur each year in the industrialised countries; despite improved treatment the rate of subsequent cardiovascular events remains high. 1.3 million patients are hospitalised each year for AMI. Eniporide in AMI is one of the projects based on the platform of NHE inhibition that Merck KGaA is currently working on. Further potential indications and other compounds are under development in this exciting and promising field of research. Merck KGaA will also soon be starting phase II trials with its oral GPIIb/IIIa antagonist Gantofiban (EMD 122347). Despite the discontinuation of similar compounds by several competitors, Merck KGaA believes that due to its distinct profile Gantofiban may become a successful treatment option in patients with acute coronary syndrome. Both Eniporide and Gantofiban are being developed in collaboration with Yamanouchi Pharmaceuticals. Merck KGaA, whose cardiovascular business totalled nearly DM 650 million in 1998, also has further innovative preclinical projects which target the indications acute coronary syndromes, acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, deep vein thrombosis and restenosis. ots Original Text Service: Merck KGaA Internet: http://www.newsaktuell.de Contact: Merck KGaA Tel.: 06151/ 722386/ 727109 Fax: 06151/ 727707/ 723138

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