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Merck ends development of Januvia-Lipitor combo

NEW YORK (AP) -- Merck & Co. has disclosed that it is ending development of a pill that combines its diabetes drug Januvia with atorvastatin, the main ingredient in Lipitor.

Merck cited unspecified business reasons for ending clinical work on the pill, which was designated MK-0431E. It disclosed the move in a form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

Januvia is the Whitehouse Station, N.J., company's best-selling drug. In the third quarter revenue from Januvia rose 15 percent to $975 million. That was 50 percent more revenue than its next biggest product, the cholesterol drug Zetia.

Lipitor is marketed by Pfizer Inc. It was the best-selling drug in history, but lost patent protection about a year ago, allowing generic versions to reach the market.

Shares of Merck rose 8 cents to $44.09 in afternoon trading.