Merck CEO talks 2016, M&A

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier discusses the product pipeline for 2016, the fight against cancer, tax reform and M&A activity.

Merck CEO: Major Breakthrough in Lung Cancer Treatment

By Health Care FOXBusiness

During an interview with the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier said the company has found, based on new data released over the weekend, how its immune therapy drug Keytruda may help to fight advanced lung cancer.

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“This is a new category of drugs that stimulates the body’s immune system,” explained Frazier who singled out the patients who may see the biggest benefit. “With respect to the people who are the sickest lung cancer patients, we now know, using Keytruda will extend their life by approximately 13 months on average. We know that it will reduce the risk of death by 30-40% for people who had failed on standard chemo-therapy.”

He also discussed his outlook for the global economy in 2016.

“The world continues to have its challenges. We see oil going down, because people see Europe as having problems growing. The United States, I think our economy is the strongest in the world. China continues to have some issues, but over-all we see a pretty solid placid state for our business going forward.”

He also weighed in on recent M&A activity and how corporate taxes give pharma companies a competitive disadvantage.

“We’re an American company, we’re proud of being an American company. I think that size is not the key to innovation. Scale doesn’t confirm an innovation advantage. We’re not looking to be big, for big sake, nor are we looking to do a deal to change our tax rate. But what I will say is U.S. based pharmaceutical companies are at a structural disadvantage at a global competition for IP assets, for talent, for capital.”

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