Merck Shares Nosedive Following Vorapaxar Setback

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) announced today that clinical trials of its blood clot drug Vorapaxar will have to be altered, sending shares down more than 6%.

Vorapaxar was once thought to be a potential multibillion-dollar blockbuster, and was a huge component of Merck’s merger with Schering-Plough Corp. But a Data and Safety Monitoring board found it inappropriate for stroke victims, a huge market component for any drug aimed at preventing blood clots, and as a result Merck will halt testing on patients who have suffered a stroke.

Shares of MRK hit their intraday low of $34.59 (-6.89%) just before noon, where they carry a 4.39% dividend yield. The stock hasn’t closed with a yield that high since November 30, when it ended the day trading at $34.47.

Merck ranked 33rd on my list of The 100 Best Values Among Dividend Stocks entering the year. Shares are currently down about 4% in 2011.

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