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How Will Merck (MRK) Stock React to Eli Lilly's Heart Drug Trial Troubles?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Merck (MRK - Get Report) stock is declining by 0.79% to $50.55 in midday trading on Monday, after Eli Lilly (LLY) stopped the Phase 3 trials for its cholesterol-lowering drug evacetrapib when an independent data-monitoring committee said it wasn't sufficiently effective.

The halt to Eli Lilly's trials leaves Merck as the lone major drugmaker with a CETP inhibitor, anacetrapib, in Phase 3 studies, Reuters reports. Phase 3 development is the final phase before a drug can be submitted for Food and Drug Administration approval.

In mid-stage studies, anacetrapib boosted HDL levels, or "good" cholesterol, by 138% while lowering LDL levels, or "bad" cholesterol, by 60% more than reductions from statins alone, Reuters adds. Merck's trial should conclude in 2017.

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