Sweden’s Karo Bio has been boosted by the news that partner Merck & Co is taking an investigational compound for hot flushes into mid-stage trials.

The Huddinge, Stockholm-based group noted that Merck plans to start a Phase IIa trial of MK-6913, the lead investigational drug candidate identified as part of their joint research collaboration signed in 2002. The study will assess the drug for the treatment of moderate-to-very-severe vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes/flushes) in postmenopausal women and 300 patients will be enrolled.

Per Olof Wallstroem, Karo Bio’s chief executive, said “we strongly believe that novel compounds targeting the oestrogen receptor continue to hold great potential in the field of women's health”. Merck has the exclusive worldwide rights to all compounds identified during the pact and is responsible for their further preclinical and clinical development. Karo Bio is eligible to receive certain milestone payments, plus royalties on future drug sales.