Merck, Endocyte to partner; drug gets virility warning

The FDA adds warning about sexual side effects to Propecia, a drug used to treat baldness.

By Trefis Apr 18, 2012 2:28PM
Image: Man getting haircut (© Joel Sartore/National Geographic/Getty Images)Merck (MRK) recently announced that it will partner with Endocyte (ECYT), an Indiana bio-pharmaceutical company that develops therapies for the treatment of cancer and other serious diseases.

Separately, Propecia, one of Merck's drugs used for the treatment of baldness, may cause sexual side effects, according to the Food and Drug Adminstration.

The FDA has ordered Merck to change its labels disclosing potential sexual side effects in men who take it. Merck is one of the largest pharma companies with operations in four segments: pharmaceutical, animal health, consumer care and alliance segment. It has a market cap of $115 billion and competes with other health-care companies like Pfizer (PFE), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Abbott Labs (ABT).

Partnership with Endocyte

Merck is about to lose the patent for its allergy and asthma drug, Singulair, and hence is pushing toward bringing new drugs to the market. To this end, Merck is partnering with Endocyte, which is developing Vintafolide, a promising drug for late-stage ovarian cancer.

It has already paid $120 million upfront to Endocyte for developing and marketing the drug. And it has committed another $880 million of payments on milestone achievements.

Merck is also planning to evaluate the drug's effectiveness for other cancer types. This will earn revenues for the oncology segment of Merck and improve its market share and should also offset the loses due to Singulair. Oncology and respiratory drugs contribute nearly 2.4% and 6.3% to the $41.15 Trefis price estimate for Merck.

Merck Market Share of Oncologics

Baldness drug may cause erectile dysfunction

Merck markets two drugs Proscar and Propecia that contain an active ingredient Finasteride, which has been linked with potential sexual side effects like erectile dysfunction. The FDA has asked for label changes for both drugs to notify the adverse side effects to consumers.

Merck Market Share of Legacy Pharma, Animal & Cons. Health

Merck reports revenues from these two drugs under the Legacy Pharma, Animal & Cons. Health Division, which contributes nearly 22% to the company value. If sales from these two drugs drop, Merck will lose market share in this segment, which could impact its share price.

Apr 18, 2012 3:45PM
C'mon Merck........where's​ my pill that gets rid of my beer belly, grows my hair and gives me a boner all at the same time?
Apr 18, 2012 6:04PM
  Like I've always said, " It's not a bald spot, it's a solar panel for a sex machine."
Apr 18, 2012 4:21PM
Life imitates art. When George Costanza is calling China to order a baldness cure, he asks if there are any side effects. The joking response: "Impotence."
Apr 18, 2012 10:51PM
If it isn't one head, it's the other.
Apr 18, 2012 6:22PM

I took Propecia for two months last year. The side effects were horrible. I almost completely lost my sex drive. Never lost my erection but I could see it happening eventually. I'd rather be bald than take that crap!


But now I understand women a little better. I never understood not wanting to have sex until that episode. Now I get it.

Apr 18, 2012 5:52PM
Hair or sex, I know which choice will win.
Apr 18, 2012 5:10PM
I've been on Propecia for years and have not noticed any sexual problems.  Dating younger women seems to help a lot however.  Devil  Heh.
Apr 18, 2012 9:21PM
Bald men are sexy...I've always had a thing for them....especially ones with beautiful arms...don't take meds for hair...geez...I'd rather get laid than you have hair!  Who cares about hair.!Skin is in!  Keep it coming baby!  You bald men that are self conscious....own it and be proud!  The women that care about baldness aren't worthy of your time....and to that atty dink that posted'll be older yourself someday,if you are lucky (probably not with that attitude)  and guess what?  You still want a "friend with benefits".  How old are you 12?   Honestly.  Grow up. 
Apr 18, 2012 4:27PM
Well, I have heard that many women think bald is sexy on older guys.  I guess they figured out something we men didn't!
Apr 18, 2012 6:03PM
Oh, so that's why my father called my uncle Harold "pecker-head".  I thought it was because he was bald!!
Apr 18, 2012 7:38PM
if your gal won't do ya cause you're bald ... just give her a bag of hair and tell her to get happy
Apr 18, 2012 7:21PM
Interesting ... bald men have always been seen as virile. Maybe nature is saying not to try to get rid of baldness!   :)
Apr 18, 2012 9:30PM
atty12, why did your parents have you?
Apr 18, 2012 6:45PM

Now that you can get women , you can't do anything with them.


Apr 18, 2012 6:53PM

Imagine, that full head of hair gets you that model's attention, and you have a limp noodle!  I'd stick to the regular gals and show them a good time.

Apr 18, 2012 6:10PM

Newsweek and Time sometimes run ads for drugs that cover four pages of small print, mostly side effects, including possible death.  Even CVS generic aspirin (99 cents for 125) has warnings on the label, including mixing with alcohol.   


Gee,you get some hair so the chicks will want you,but you can't get it up.What a kicker!!


Apr 18, 2012 5:11PM
I have been using propecia for 2yrs now with no further hair loss and hair is actually thicker and fuller.  ED was an issue for about the first 3-4mos of using it but after that my sex drive was back to normal and I have not had any ED issues since.  Can't wait til it becomes over the counter as I am sure the price will drop.
Apr 18, 2012 6:56PM
Another thing, nobody suffers from lack of sex drive.  You're actually lucky to have no sex drive cause you're finally getting all the sex you want....(none).

then again,it doesn't matter how your noodle is if she doesn't like bald men..........

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