Healthcare Industry News:  proton 

Biopharmaceuticals Gastroenterology

 News Release - February 28, 2008

Merck Retains Interest in AstraZeneca LP Products

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Merck & Co., Inc. announced today that it has advised AstraZeneca PLC that it will not exercise its option to sell its interest in certain AstraZeneca non-proton pump inhibitor (non-PPI) products this year. Those products are Atacand™, Lexxel™, Plendil™ and Entocort™ plus certain products currently in clinical development.

As a result of this decision, AstraZeneca will have its own option to acquire Merck's interest in these non-PPI products in the first half of 2010 and, should it exercise that option, another option to acquire Merck's interest in the PPI products, including Nexium, in 2012. Merck will still receive certain payments from AstraZeneca in the first quarter of 2008 in the net amount of $2.6 billion — a payment of approximately $4.0 billion offset by a loan repayment of $1.4 billion to AstraZeneca from Merck. There is no change to Merck's 2008 financial guidance or to the previously disclosed guidance with respect to the expected gain from the payments that will be made by AstraZeneca in the first quarter of 2008 as a result of this announcement.

About Merck

Merck & Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first. Established in 1891, Merck currently discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines to address unmet medical needs. The Company devotes extensive efforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programs that not only donate Merck medicines but help deliver them to the people who need them. Merck also publishes unbiased health information as a not-for-profit service. For more information, visit

Forward-Looking Statement

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on management's current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties, which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. The forward-looking statements may include statements regarding product development, product potential or financial performance. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual results may differ materially from those projected. Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Merck's business, particularly those mentioned in the risk factors and cautionary statements in Item 1A of Merck's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2006, and in its periodic reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, which the Company incorporates by reference.

Source: Merck

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