This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," October 5, 2005, that was edited for clarity.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: A new drug that might, just might, keep women from getting cervical cancer, period. It is called Gardasil. And, in clinical trials, it prevented — get this — nearly 100 percent of growths that can cause this deadly disease. By some accounts, it could be a $1-billion-plus drug. But for those with cervical cancer, it could be something more, a cure.
Joining me right now, a person very actively involved in this process, one of Merck's (MRK) most important pipeline products, the drug giant planning to submit the application to the FDA by year end. In New York is Margaret McGlynn. Margaret is the president of Merck Vaccines.
Margaret, good to have you.
MARGARET MCGLYNN, PRESIDENT, MERCK VACCINES: Thanks, Neil. Thanks for having me.
CAVUTO: Now, how does this work? I mean, it prevents it getting beyond the virus stage — explain that?
MCGLYNN: It prevents infections from the virus. Cervical cancer is caused by human papilloma virus. And the study that we are announcing this week showed that we had 100 percent prevention of the pre-cervical cancers that are caused by the two types of human papilloma virus that are responsible for over 70 percent of cervical cancers.
CAVUTO: Now, how difficult a cancer is cervical cancer? How does it rate among the more serious cancers?
MCGLYNN: Cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer in females worldwide. And it is second leading cause of deaths from cancer worldwide.
CAVUTO: And there are very little precursors for this. Sometimes, a lot of women don't realize they have it until it's too late, right?
MCGLYNN: That's absolutely right.
And, every year in the United States there, are over one million appear abnormal Pap smears. And 10,000 get diagnosed with cervical cancer; 3,700 of those women die every year in the United States.
CAVUTO: Incredible. Is there any common link between the women who contract this cancer?
MCGLYNN: There is no common link, Neil. Every woman is susceptible to infection with human papilloma virus and cervical cancer.
In fact, during the course of their lifetime, 50 percent of sexually active adults will get infected with human papilloma virus.
CAVUTO: Let me ask you. I know you are the vaccines president of Merck, but it comes at a time when you still in litigation over Vioxx and what your company knew about the dangers of that drug and when you knew it.
I know that's not your bailiwick, but I found it interesting today that Merck stock did nothing. And this is huge news. Were you surprised by that?
MCGLYNN: Well, of course, this is very important news, and we expect that, over time, this will improve the performance of our stock.
But, certainly, analysts already were aware of this vaccine. We have been talking about its development. We have released data in the past. Certainly, the data that we released today shows that we had 100 percent prevention of the pre-cervical cancers. We think that is very important news. We think that will fuel Merck's performance over time. And we expect, over time, that will be reflected even more so in our stock price.
CAVUTO: Margaret, I know you're trying to focus on getting these vaccines out and you're not really sidetracked by greedy Wall Street interests. But if you were to tell me a company has come up with essentially a cure for cervical cancer, I would have thought, even with anticipation that this might be coming down the pike, your stock would have soared. The fact that it didn't tells me that Wall Street is very concerned about Merck as an ongoing concern.
MCGLYNN: Well, first, Neil, let me clarify. I don't want to leave the wrong impression. This is not a cure for cervical cancer. What we showed is that we prevented these pre-cervical cancers in women, 100 percent prevention. But that is not a cure, so I just don't want to leave the wrong impression.
CAVUTO: But, to be clear, the fact that it could never progress to that stage, I think you get my point.
MCGLYNN: Well, absolutely.
CAVUTO: That's a pretty big deal. And the fact that Wall Street ignored it, Margaret, I wonder if it's saying something is bigger is going on here, that you might not be a viable concern.
MCGLYNN: I don't believe so. Neil, I believe that Wall Street recognizes that this is a critical vaccine.
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