Filed Under: Business

COVID-19 pill maker Merck beats Q3 expectations, allows pill to be cheaply made

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Merck, the maker of a pill designed to treat COVID-19, announced its third-quarter financial results Thursday. According to the company, sales in Q3 were 20% higher than they were in Q3 of 2020. Net income jumped 55% to $4.57 billion.

“Merck delivered another strong quarter with positive momentum across our business and meaningful progress across our pipeline,” Merck President/CEO Rob Davis said. “Our team continued to excel as we focus on evolving our operations, while driving innovations in our labs that exemplify the best of Merck science.”

The COVID-19 pill maker saw its stock jump 4% at the start of the trading day Thursday. In its Q3 results, Merck said it “expects full-year 2021 sales growth of 14% to 15%”.

Merck’s COVID-19 pill, called molnupiravir, did not factor in the company’s Q3 numbers. However, the pill could soon add to the company’s revenue. Merck has asked regulators in both the U.S. and Europe for authorization of the pill, which has been shown to cut COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in half.

Thursday’s numbers come a day after the COVID-19 pill maker announced it inked a royalty-free deal with the U.N.-backed nonprofit Medicines Patent Pool (MPP). The deal will allow the pill to be cheaply made and distributed in 105 of the world’s poorest countries.

Generic drug makers in developing nations are expected to market the 5-day treatment for $20. That’s a far cry from the $712 per treatment the United States has agreed to pay.

“The interim results for molnupiravir are compelling and we see this oral treatment candidate as a potentially important tool to help address the current health crisis,” MPP Executive Director Charles Gore said. “This transparent, public health-driven agreement is MPP’s first voluntary license for a COVID-19 medical technology, and we hope that Merck’s agreement with MPP will be a strong encouragement to others.”

The COVID-19 pill maker had a lot of other things going on that fueled Q3 revenue. Merck saw revenue from its blockbuster Keytruda jump 22% to $4.5 billion, and HPV vaccine Gardasil soar 68% to nearly $2 billion. Sales of its pneumonia vaccine, Pneumovax 23, tumbled 26% to $277 million. The company said this is mainly because people in the U.S. prioritized COVID-19 shots instead.

Simone Del Rosario: IT’S NOT OFTEN WE’RE REPORTING ON A PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY PUTTING PEOPLE OVER PROFITS. 

BUT MERCK’S LATEST MOVE APPEARS TO DO JUST THAT.

REMEMBER THE COMPANY’S COVID PILL? IT’S A PILL YOU CAN TAKE *AFTER YOU GET COVID. MERCK SAYS CLINICAL TRIALS SHOWED IT CUT IN HALF THE RISK OF HOSPITALIZATION AND DEATH. 

WELL THIS WEEK THE PHARMA GIANT ANNOUNCED IT INKED A ROYALTY-FREE DEAL WITH MEDICINES PATENT POOL, A NONPROFIT BACKED BY THE U-N. IT’S GOING TO ALLOW THE PILL TO BE CHEAPLY MADE AND DISTRIBUTED IN SOME OF THE WORLD’S POOREST COUNTRIES. 105 OF THEM, TO BE EXACT.

GENERIC DRUG MAKERS IN THE DEVELOPING NATIONS ARE EXPECTED TO MARKET THE 5-DAY TREATMENT FOR 20 DOLLARS, COMPARED TO THE 712 DOLLARS PER TREATMENT THE U-S HAS AGREED TO PAY. 

THE AGREEMENT STANDS IN STARK CONTRAST TO PFIZER AND MODERNA – WHICH HAVE SO FAR REFUSED TO SHARE THE TECHNOLOGY BEHIND THE M-R-N-A VACCINES IN SUCH A WIDESPREAD WAY.

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHY YOU HAVEN’T HEARD MORE ABOUT THIS COVID PILL – THAT’S BECAUSE IT’S NOT YET AVAILABLE. MERCK APPLIED FOR EMERGENCY USE AUTHORIZATION EARLIER THIS MONTH AND IS WAITING ON THE FDA TO STAMP IT.

THE COMPANY ALSO POSTED EARNINGS THIS MORNING – BEATING PROFIT AND REVENUE EXPECTATIONS. THE STOCK JUMPED FOUR PERCENT AT THE START OF THE TRADING DAY.

I’M SIMONE DEL ROSARIO FROM NEW YORK IT’S JUST BUSINESS.  

 

Merck, the maker of a pill designed to treat COVID-19, announced its third-quarter financial results Thursday. According to the company, sales in Q3 were 20% higher than they were in Q3 of 2020. Net income jumped 55% to $4.57 billion.

“Merck delivered another strong quarter with positive momentum across our business and meaningful progress across our pipeline,” Merck President/CEO Rob Davis said. “Our team continued to excel as we focus on evolving our operations, while driving innovations in our labs that exemplify the best of Merck science.”

The COVID-19 pill maker saw its stock jump 4% at the start of the trading day Thursday. In its Q3 results, Merck said it “expects full-year 2021 sales growth of 14% to 15%”.

Merck’s COVID-19 pill, called molnupiravir, did not factor in the company’s Q3 numbers. However, the pill could soon add to the company’s revenue. Merck has asked regulators in both the U.S. and Europe for authorization of the pill, which has been shown to cut COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in half.

Thursday’s numbers come a day after the COVID-19 pill maker announced it inked a royalty-free deal with the U.N.-backed nonprofit Medicines Patent Pool (MPP). The deal will allow the pill to be cheaply made and distributed in 105 of the world’s poorest countries.

Generic drug makers in developing nations are expected to market the 5-day treatment for $20. That’s a far cry from the $712 per treatment the United States has agreed to pay.

“The interim results for molnupiravir are compelling and we see this oral treatment candidate as a potentially important tool to help address the current health crisis,” MPP Executive Director Charles Gore said. “This transparent, public health-driven agreement is MPP’s first voluntary license for a COVID-19 medical technology, and we hope that Merck’s agreement with MPP will be a strong encouragement to others.”

The COVID-19 pill maker had a lot of other things going on that fueled Q3 revenue. Merck saw revenue from its blockbuster Keytruda jump 22% to $4.5 billion, and HPV vaccine Gardasil soar 68% to nearly $2 billion. Sales of its pneumonia vaccine, Pneumovax 23, tumbled 26% to $277 million. The company said this is mainly because people in the U.S. prioritized COVID-19 shots instead.

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