ARTICLE | Finance

July 28 Quick Takes: Merck to expand Keytruda’s reach as sales top $5B

Plus venture rounds for BridGene, Ozette and updates from argenx, Elevation-CSPC and more 

July 28, 2022 11:21 PM UTC

Sales of PD-1 inhibitor Keytruda pembrolizumab surpassed $5 billion in the second quarter, representing a 26% increase over the same quarter last year, and Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE:MRK) is plotting label expansions and new formulations to maintain growth. During its second quarter earning call, President and CEO Robert Davis said Keytruda has been approved in about 30 indications since 2014, and the company expects to more than double that number in 2022-28. It’s also considering subcutaneous formulations and is developing the therapy in co-formulation with other checkpoint blockers to extend its patent life. Merck reported $14.6 billion in total second quarter sales, including $5.3 billion from Keytruda.

BridGene Biosciences Inc. will develop its Isobaric Mass Tagged Affinity Characterization (IMTAC) chemoproteomic platform to screen small molecules against traditionally undruggable targets with a $38.5 million series B round. Lapam Capital, Junson Capital and Dyee Capital were all named as investors. IMTAC is used to identify small molecules targeting proteins bearing shallow binding pockets, and those for which binding pockets form only temporarily, due to protein-protein interactions, in live cells. ...