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Merck moves Alzheimer's drug into big trials after independent review

Reuters--Merck & Co. said it will begin two late-stage trials of its experimental Alzheimer's drug, one of the industry's best hopes for slowing the memory-robbing disease, after an independent monitoring board reviewed its safety and recommended that more patients be recruited for studies.

The data monitoring committee gave its blessing to a Phase III trial involving up to 1,960 patients after examining interim safety data from a mid-stage trial of 200 patients who had been treated with the medicine, called MK-8931, for at least three months. The planned new study, called EPOCH, is expected to conclude in mid-2017, Merck said on Tuesday.

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