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Merrimack (MACK) Focuses on Early Stage Pipeline and Cost Cuts

Zacks

On Oct 10, we issued an updated research report on Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. MACK.

Merrimack’s two early-stage pipeline candidates, MM-121 and MM-310 have been progressing well. The company is focused on developing its oncology pipeline. MM-121 is still being evaluated in a phase II study, while MM-310 is in a phase I study.

MM-121, in combination with Sanofi’s SNY Taxotere, is being evaluated in the phase II SHERLOC study for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer. The FDA granted Orphan Drug designation to the candidate for this indication. In September, the company completed enrollment in the ongoing study.

The company is also evaluating the candidate in combination with AstraZeneca’s AZN Faslodex in a phase II clinical study — SHERBOC — in HER2 negative hormone receptor and heregulin positive postmenopausal metastatic breast cancer patients. The company expects to report top-line results from the SHERLOC study in the second half of 2018.


A phase I study on MM-310 is under way to evaluate the candidate’s safety in patients with solid tumors and identify its maximum tolerated dose. The company anticipates to report safety data and the maximum tolerated dose from the study during the second half of 2018.

Shares of Merrimack have lost 53.8% so far this year compared with the industry’s decline of 14.5%.


Merrimack sold its only marketed product, Onivyde, to Ipsen last year. The sale of Onivyde is beneficial for the company, given the fact that it was struggling to market the drug properly. The cash received from Ipsen was utilized to pay the huge debt and return value to shareholders in form of dividends. The sale also provides the company with the much-needed capital to focus on its streamlined oncology pipeline.

Notably, the company has no approved product in its portfolio, yet. Thus, an inability to continue the study on its two pipeline candidates could hinder the company’s growth.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Merrimack currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Another top-ranked stock in the healthcare sector is CRISPR Therapeutics AG CRSP, which sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

CRISPR Therapeutics’ loss per share estimates has narrowed 1% for 2018 and 1.3% for 2019 over the past 60 days. The stock has soared 56.1% year to date.

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