2:05 PM
 | 
Jun 20, 2019
 |  BC Extra  |  Company News

Beyond Keytruda: Merck details plans for future growth

Merck is looking beyond its blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda pembrolizumab to late-stage programs in infectious disease, vaccines and chronic indications to help the pharma weather any revenue shortcomings when its diabetes drug Januvia sitagliptin comes off patent in 2023.

Merck also highlighted China as a key growth driver and provided insight into its appetite for M&A.

"Everything we need to drive growth through Januvia patent expiry is in our hands and now it's really about executing in the market and in the development space to make sure we can maintain our leadership," said Chairman and CEO Kenneth Frazier said at an investor day Thursday.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE:MRK) recorded $5.9 billion in 2018 sales for the Januvia franchise, making the DPP-4 inhibitor its second-biggest contributor to pharmaceuticals revenue at 16%. For 1Q19, Januvia franchise sales were $1.4 billion. Keytruda is its largest contributor at $7.2 billion for 2018, accounting for 19% of total pharmaceuticals sales in 2018. The drug had 1Q19 sales of $2.3 billion.

Among late-stage programs, Merck highlighted pneumococcal vaccine V114, a 15-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine that is in Phase III testing to prevent...

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