Merck Reports a Better than Expected First Quarter

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Merck announced a more successful first quarter than expected and it is all due to its Keytruda treatment.

Merck & Co. is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. With an activity that spans over 100 years, it has its headquarters in Kenilworth, New Jersey. The company is also a highly-esteemed name in the industry of publication. For instance, the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy is the most successful medical reference. The company reported first quarter with revenue and earnings that topped the highest expectations.

Keytruda Alone Earned during First Quarter a Total of $584 Million

As of recently, Merck is competing with Bristol-Meyers Squibb Co. for influence in the cancer drug industry. There is a new class of treatments for this relentless condition. The innovative factor is employing the immune system of the patients themselves to go after tumors.

On Tuesday, Merck made public its report for the first quarter. The numbers showed an impressive evolution for the company. The asset responsible for this achievement is Keytruda. This is a drug for lung and skin cancer which sold twice as much as before and reached a profit of $584 million.

Even though analysts expected to see a better performance from such a cutting-edge treatment, the company thrived during this period. This is due to its main rival, Bristol-Meyers, that encountered numerous setbacks with its own innovative drug Opdivo.

Merck Adjusted 2017 Earnings to $3.76 to $3.88

Keytruda managed to receive FDA’s approval on new trials and uses. On the other hand, Opdivo didn’t deliver satisfying results after a major patient trial last year that focused on lung cancer. As a consequence, Bristol-Meyers reported a weaker performance of its main asset last month compared to the sales it recorded in the fourth quarter. The head of research and development department at Merck, Roger Perlmutter, stated that Keytruda’s formula is a game changer in the industry.

“We see it as foundational and transformational for oncologists. The goal has been to actually change the shape of the survival curve.”

As a consequence, the company adjusted its 2017 earnings from the initial forecast of $3.72 to $3.87 per share to $3.76 to $3.88. Investors pushed the share value 1% to $62.94 in New York. They are already seeing the potential of Keytruda drug at a time when competition is dealing with major issues. Moreover, Januvia and Janumet are two similar pills for diabetes that recorded a slow performance on the market as well.

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