Merck tops profit estimates on Keytruda sales


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

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

Merck's shares were up 1.8 percent at $63.10 before the bell.

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

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

Excluding items, Merck earned $1.11 per share, beating analysts' average estimate of $1.03, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

However, sales fell to $10.33 billion from $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 $3.91-$3.97 from $3.76-$3.88. (Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D'Couto)

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