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Merck & Co’s sales bounce back in ‘ongoing recovery from COVID-19’

Sales grew by 19% in the second quarter as key products begin to recover from the impact of the pandemic

Merck & Co announced that sales grew by 19% in the second quarter (Q2) as key products begin to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most notably, sales of the company’s human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil increased by 88% to $1.2bn, primarily due to recovery from the pandemic and strong demand in the US.

Merck’s president of human health also highlighted positive impact from “outside the United States, [where] growth was driven by increased demand in China”.

Sales of the nine-valent HPV vaccine took a major hit in the early days of the pandemic, after patients delayed doctor’s visits and demand for COVID-19 vaccines took precedence.

Merck - known as MSD outside the US and Canada - also saw sales of its paediatric vaccine increase by 36% to $516m, which included combined sales of its varicella virus vaccine Varivax, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella virus vaccine Proquad and M-M-R II, a vaccine to help prevent measles, mumps and rubella.

Elsewhere in its Q2 results, Merck saw sales growth for its blockbuster immunotherapy Keytruda, which grew by 23% to $4.2bn, reflecting continued demand in the major non-small cell lung cancer indications as well as uptake in other indications such as adjuvant melanoma, bladder cancer and MSI-H cancers.

“We are encouraged by the strong momentum of our underlying business led by our key growth drivers as the impact of the pandemic on our performance lessens,” said Rob Davis, chief executive officer and president, Merck.

“We are confident that we will deliver sustained long-term growth and value creation enabled by our strengthening discovery research engine and by working with increased speed, urgency and agility to accelerate the delivery of our innovations to the patients who depend on them,” he added.

In June, Merck completed the spin-off of women’s health company Organon, freeing up approximately $9bn for new deals and collaborations.

Speaking on the company’s business development plans following the Organon spin-off, Davis said “we are putting an increased emphasis on ensuring we are appropriately aggressive in accessing the best external science”.

“Executing value-enhancing business development is a top priority, and we intend to add to our pipeline through acquisitions, partnerships, licensing deals and collaborations. We will look at both early- and late-stage opportunities and we have the financial flexibility to consider deals of all sizes, particularly given the $9 billion distribution from the Organon spin-off,” he added.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

30th July 2021

From: Sales

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