Merck records yet another strong quarter for Keytruda

Merck posted yet another strong quarter on the back of its cancer therapy Keytruda, in what’s becoming almost a routine event for the New Jersey drugmaker.

“New quarter, same Merck outperformance,” BMO Capital Markets analyst Evan David Seigerman wrote in a note to clients after Merck released first-quarter results Thursday.

Among US drugmakers, Merck has been one of the better performers in the last half-decade, even as it prepares for Keytruda’s key patent expiry in 2028. It has invested in areas beyond oncology through its $10.8 billion purchase of immunology drug developer Prometheus last year. But a key part of the post-Keytruda strategy is more Keytruda, through a subcutaneous version of the drug that’s expected to extend the franchise.

On a call with investors Thursday, CEO Rob Davis said the patent expiries many drugmakers face later this decade will be “more of a hill…
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