12/03/2012 09:32 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2013

MK-8931: Alzheimer's Drug Trial Starts Today

Dec 3 (Reuters) - Merck & Co Inc said on Monday it started a new clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of its experimental oral drug MK-8931 in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease.

The Phase II trial, which will compare the drug with a placebo, is a global, multi-center study that includes a group of 200 patients to test safety.

The study is expected eventually enroll up to 1,700 patients in the main Phase III group.

The drug is the first of its kind to advance to this stage of clinical research.