Merck will return the global marketing and development rights for intravenous (IV) and oral formulations for vernakalant to Cardiome Pharma. The company referred to the move as “a business decision.”
Vernakalant IV is marketed under the brand name Brinavess and is approved in the EU for recent onset atrial fibrillation (AF) to sinus rhythm in adults. Vernakalant IV is not approved for use in the U.S. or Canada. The companies will work together to transition activities and ensure continued availability of the product.
"Cardiome looks forward to continued advancement of the launch of Brinavess IV worldwide and welcomes the opportunity to continue development of vernakalant oral worldwide and vernakalant IV in North America," said Dr. William Hunter, interim chief executive officer of Cardiome. "We thank Merck for its contribution to the Vernakalant program and anticipate a smooth transition for the physicians and patients who rely on Brinavess."
Michael Mendelsohn, M.D., senior vice president and head, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular research, Merck Research Laboratories, said, "We continue to support the safety and efficacy profile of vernakalant. We look forward to working with Cardiome to conduct a transition that has the best interests of patients and their physicians in mind. Merck remains committed to developing new drugs for cardiovascular diseases."