Merck & Co Raises Forecasts as Keytruda Drives Strong Sales Growth

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Merck & Co. has increased its annual profit and revenue expectations, boosted by strong sales of its Keytruda.
Merck & Co. has increased its annual profit and revenue expectations, boosted by strong sales of its Keytruda.

Merck & Co has revised its annual profit and revenue forecasts upward, buoyed by robust sales of its blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda. 

The company’s shares surged over 2% in pre-market trading following the announcement, signaling investor confidence in its performance.

Keytruda’s Dominance and Growth Prospects: 

Keytruda remains Merck’s primary revenue driver, retaining its position as the world’s best-selling drug in 2023. 

Sales for Keytruda surged to $6.95 billion in the first quarter, marking a 20% increase from the previous year. The drug’s expanding usage across various cancer types and rising patient demand contribute to its growth trajectory.

Performance of Other Products: 

Merck’s vaccine Gardasil, designed to prevent HPV-related cancers, reported quarterly sales of $2.25 billion, demonstrating a 14% increase. 

The company attributes Gardasil’s growth to strong demand in China. Additionally, sales of Vaxneuvance, a vaccine targeting pneumococcus bacteria, soared by 106% to $219 million in the first quarter.

Focus on New Treatment Approvals: 

Merck recently obtained FDA approval for Winrevair, a potential blockbuster treatment for high blood pressure resulting from lung artery constriction. 

The company anticipates significant uptake of Winrevair, with favorable coverage by insurers and payers already established.

Revised Financial Outlook: 

Merck raised its annual earnings forecast to $8.53-$8.65 per share, reflecting an upward revision from the previous guidance. 

The company also adjusted its 2024 sales forecast to $63.1-$64.3 billion, surpassing analysts’ expectations. The acquisition of cancer drug developer Harpoon Therapeutics contributed to a $0.26 per share charge in the forecast.

J.P. Morgan analyst Chris Schott views Merck’s results as consistent with solid business trends. He anticipates rapid uptake of Winrevair in the latter half of the year, underscoring the drug’s significance for Merck’s future growth.

James Adam

James Adam, a noted business writer for CEO Times Magazine, specializes in insightful industry analysis and executive profiles. Known for his clear, concise style, James offers readers an expert perspective on global business trends and market dynamics.

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