Merck researchers developed suvorexant to target and block orexins, chemical messengers that originate from the hypothalamus (an important sleep center in the brain) that help to keep you awake. By blocking the actions of orexins, suvorexant helps to facilitate sleep. Merck plans to file a New Drug Application (NDA) for suvorexant with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012, making it one of the company’s six major filings planned for 2012 and 2013.
“We specifically focused our research efforts on insomnia because it is an area of significant unmet medical need,” said Darryle D. Schoepp, Ph.D., senior vice president and head of Neuroscience and Ophthalmology franchise, Merck Research Laboratories. “Suvorexant approaches insomnia differently than other medicines because it helps patients to sleep by targeting and blocking orexins, which play a role in keeping people awake. We’re excited about the Phase III results and the potential of suvorexant to become the first in a new class of medicines to help patients with insomnia.”
Link - Merck News Item