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Scientists at Merck are staring down a drug development puzzle. One that has to do with a mutated protein called PCSK9, which is associated with the production of harmful levels of cholesterol in the blood.

The PCSK9 protein is actually relatively easy to target a drug against. Two cholesterol-lowering monoclonal antibodies that work by blocking PCSK9 were approved back in 2015. Last December, the FDA approved a third treatment that works by interfering with the RNA that precedes PCSK9.

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