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Merck/MSD posts $531m loss for Q4 2010

Merck/MSD has announced a $531m loss in the final quarter of 2010, however the company posted worldwide sales of £46bn for the year

Merck (MSD outside the US and Canada) has announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2010. The company announced a $531m loss in the final quarter of 2010, due in large to restructuring costs (announced in the Q4 2009 results) following the company's acquisition of competitor Schering-Plough in 2009 for $41bn.

Merck announced worldwide sales for the whole of 2010 of $46bn and GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) net income of $861m. Excluding purchase accounting adjustments, restructuring costs and merger-related expenses, Merck announced non-GAAP earnings per share (EPS) for the fourth quarter of $0.88.

Purchase accounting adjustments included a $1.7bn pre-tax charge related to the clinical research programme for blood thinning therapy vorapaxar.

Commenting on the announcement, Kenneth C Frazier, president and chief executive officer said: "These results clearly demonstrate the benefits of the post-merger Merck with our broader product portfolio, robust late-stage pipeline and expanded global footprint."

During this period, Merck has received priority review status for its investigational hepatitis C drug, Boceprevir, from the US FDA and accelerated assessment status in the EU.

Top-line results for the phase III SUCCEED trial of ridaforolimus, an investigational orally available mTOR inhibitor for which Merck gained full rights from Ariad in 2010, showed it met the primary endpoint in patients with metastatic soft-tissue or bone sarcomas.

Also during Q4, results from the Merck's SHARP trial, showed that Vytorin (ezetimibe/simvastatin) significantly reduced major vascular events in patients with chronic kidney disease

"Looking ahead, our focus will be on delivering sustainable, profitable top-line growth," said Frazier.

"To do that, Merck will continue to innovate, make disciplined investments in our business and continue to drive out inefficiencies in our operations. Coming out of our first year as a combined company, Merck employees in markets all over the world are energised and excited about capitalising on the many new opportunities we have to bring value to patients, customers and shareholders," he continued.

3rd February 2011

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