Merck & Co. reported a Phase III trial which studies odanacatib for the treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal woman is underway which will include tests for breast and prostate cancer.

Odanacatib is a potent inhibitor that represents a potential therapeutic approach for metastatic bone disease which is a frequent complication for patients with breast cancer.

Merck announced the drug was positive in a previous trial phase II examination, where it reduced measures of bone breakdown and rebuilding in women with breast cancer that has spread to bones.

This is the first study to evaluate odanacatib in cancer patients, said Antonio Lombardi, M.D., senior director, Merck Research Laboratories in a press release. Based on these findings, larger Phase III studies using the 5 mg daily dose of odanacatib are being planned for patients with breast and prostate cancer.

The company said patients who participated in the trial observed some side effects including nausea, vomiting, headache and bone pain.

Shares of Merck & Co. closed 0.10 percent up at $38.66 in the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday.