SOURCE: Five Star Equities

Five Star Equities

November 19, 2012 08:20 ET

Major Drug Makers Collaborate on Experimental Drug Testing Database

Five Star Equities Provides Stock Research on Merck & Co. and Pfizer

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Nov 19, 2012) -  Major Pharmaceutical firms have performed admirably this year despite facing increased generic competition as a result of major patent expirations. The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Pharmaceuticals Index Fund is up roughly 8.7 percent year-to-date -- more than double the gain of the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the same period. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for companies in the Major Drug Manufacturers Industry and provides equity research on Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE).

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Recently three major drug makers -- Eli Lilly and Co., Johnson & Johnson, and Merck & Co. -- have agreed to collaborate on a database that will help speed up the experimental drug testing process. The companies will each contribute to a database which will consist of doctors, hospitals and clinics dedicated to the testing of experimental medicines. Other pharmaceutical and biotech companies have also been invited to contribute to the database created by J&J's Janssen Research & Development unit.

"The current clinical trial environment is inefficient, costly and unsustainable," said the head of Janssen's clinical trial innovation and external alliances, Dr. Andreas Koester, in a statement. "We are enthusiastic about working with other industry leaders to collectively apply our expertise, capabilities and shared passion for advancing science and improving lives."

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Merck currently offers investors an annual dividend of $1.68 per share for a yield of roughly 3.9 percent. Merck reported worldwide sales of $11.5 billion for the third quarter of 2012, a decrease of 4 percent. Sales of SINGULAIR fell by 55 percent in the third quarter of 2012. The company lost market exclusivity for SINGULAIR in August 2012 and will expire in major European markets in February 2013.

Pfizer currently offers investors an annual dividend of $0.88 for a yield of roughly 3.7 percent. The Supreme Court of Canada last week ruled the company's patent for Viagra invalid as they failed to specify sildenafil as the active ingredient. "Pfizer expects to face generic competition in Canada shortly," the company said in a statement issued by its New York office. "Pfizer will continue to vigorously defend against challenges to its intellectual property."

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