Does Merck have everything it needs to make its pipeline a success? In short, no, CEO Rob Davis told investors and analysts during the company’s third-quarter conference call on Thursday. . But when it comes to M&A, we’re looking at a “list of possible places to play.”

The CEO took a moment in a question and answer session to highlight Merck’s business development plans. This may or may not include Seagen after acquisition talks reportedly stalled over pricing in August. “Our urgency for business development hasn’t changed,” Davis succinctly acknowledged.

“Frankly, we continue to look at the portfolio of opportunities that we’re interested in,” Davis said. “That is our priority because we continue to believe that the best thing we can do for long-term value creation is to invest in the sustainability of the businesses that invest in our future pipeline. because there is.”

However, CFO Caroline Litchfield adds:

Caroline Litchfield

The news comes as Keytruda’s sales soared to over $5.4 billion last quarter, up 20% from Q3 2021. Merck is doubling down on an immuno-oncology blockbuster facing the patent cliff in 2028.Pair it with one of Moderna’s personalized gunshots, and Dean Li, president of Merck Research Laboratories, previously said the drug would help his Merck of A leader in oncology by 2025, a partnership with Moderna and ongoing research into a subcutaneous version should help push it into early lines of therapy, he said on the third-quarter conference call. said.

Keytruda’s numbers more than made up for Lagevrio’s sales, which plummeted from $1.2 billion in the second quarter to just $436 million last quarter. Compared to Pfizer’s Paxlovid, Merck’s Covid-19 treatment has much smaller doses, around 4 million doses, according to HHS trackers. Of the approximately 2.5 million doses of Lagebrio delivered, just under 759,000 were delivered, compared with 8.3 million and 5.4 million doses of paxlovid.

Meanwhile, Davis touted the launch of its 15-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine Vaxneuvance in a pediatric setting after obtaining approval in June this year. However, by that time, Pfizer had beaten it with its own 20-stock shot.

dean lee

When asked how Merck plans to compete with competitors like Pfizer, Lee said: Right patient at right time. “

During the conference call, Mr. Davis added that Merck is proceeding with a Phase III trial in adults of its 21-valent candidate, V116. Both toddlers and adults,” he said.

Sales of Pneumovax 23, Merck’s pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV), which was approved in 1982, fell 53% in the quarter, reflecting lower demand as the market transitioned to newer vaccines. totaled $131 million, Merck reports. The PPSV vaccine has proven to be less effective in younger children, prompting scientists to develop his latest conjugates such as Vaxneuvance and Pfizer’s Prevnar.

Gardasil vaccine sales offset that loss, growing 15 percent to $2.3 billion, driven by strong demand in China. Global immunization levels remain low, but Merck said it has invested in manufacturing capacity to meet expected increased demand “now and in the long term.”

Overall, Merck raised $15 billion from the previous quarter, up 14% from last year. The company’s stock $MRK rose 2% on Thursday afternoon.

Davis will succeed former CEO Ken Frazier in the role of chairman, and the company has come a long way in the last year, he said.

“Do you think you have everything you need? No,” he said. “But do you think we’ve made great strides this past year? .”

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