Merck profit soars 61.5 pct as Keytruda sales surge

Merck reported a 61.5 percent jump in quarterly profit on Friday as demand jumped for its key immuno-oncology drug, Keytruda.

Net income attributable to Merck rose to $1.95 billion, or 71 cents per share, for the second quarter, from $1.21 billion, or 43 cents per share, a year earlier.

Sales rose to $9.93 billion from $9.84 billion.

Merck's position as the market leader in previously untreated lung cancer was bolstered on Thursday after AstraZeneca Plc said its combination of two injectable immunotheries failed to help patients as hoped in a closely watched advanced lung cancer trial.

(Reporting by Divya Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)