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Merck tops profit estimates on Keytruda sales

[BENGALURU] Merck & Co on Friday reported a quarterly profit that beat analysts' estimates, benefiting from sales of its immuno-oncology drug Keytruda.

Sales of Keytruda, which were helped by approval across various indications this year, were US$1.05 billion for the third quarter, in line with Leerink consensus estimates.

Merck's shares were up 1.8 per cent at US$63.10 before the bell.

Net loss attributable to Merck was US$56 million, or 2 US cents per share, in the third quarter, compared with a year-ago profit of US $2.18 billion, or 78 US cents per share.

Merck had a US$2.35 billion charge related to its collaboration with AstraZeneca, which it had announced in the second quarter.

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Excluding items, Merck earned US$1.11 per share, beating analysts' average estimate of US$1.03, according to Thomson Reuters.

However, sales fell to US$10.33 billion from US$10.54 billion, hurt by the NotPetya cyber attack in the second quarter, which had disrupted its manufacturing operations.

The drugmaker also narrowed and raised its full-year adjusted earnings per share forecast to US$3.91-US$3.97 from US$3.76-US$3.88.


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