Merck Flashes A Toothy Q1 2017 Grin — With Gaudy, Street-Beating Results…

As we settle back into our work-week routine, here in the city of big shoulders, we are pleased to report that the good ship Merck did not show all the same weaknesses seen at J&J, in her first quarter 2017 numbers. [To be fair though, Merck’s diabetes franchises did slow a bit, as did J&J’s.]

Here’s the press release, and I’ll likely listen to at least the Q&A portion of the conference call — but Merck mavens should take heart, as FY 2017 now portends to be a solid year at Kenilworth:

. . . .Narrows and Raises 2017 Full-Year GAAP EPS Range to be Between $2.51 and $2.63; Narrows and Raises 2017 Full-Year Non-GAAP EPS Range to be Between $3.76 and $3.88, Including an Approximately 1.5 Percent Negative Impact from Foreign Exchange. . . .

“Merck delivered solid performance across our broad range of products that address major disease categories and the needs of global health,” said Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck. “The continued momentum of KEYTRUDA in oncology, along with the strength of the vaccine and other franchises and animal health, helped to drive revenue growth in the quarter. . . .”

First-quarter pharmaceutical sales increased 1 percent to $8.2 billion, including a 1 percent negative impact from foreign exchange. The growth was driven by oncology, hepatitis C and vaccines, largely offset by the loss of market exclusivity for several products, as well as lower sales in the diabetes franchise.

Growth in oncology was due to higher sales of KEYTRUDA as the company continues to launch the product with new indications globally.

Growth in hepatitis C was driven by ZEPATIER (elbasvir and grazoprevir), a medicine for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus genotypes 1 or 4 infection, due to ongoing launches globally. Sales in the United States also reflect an approximately $40 million favorable adjustment to rebate accruals due to mix of business. . . .

Now you know.

And in our continuing but unrelated space science coverage, later this afternoon, sweetly twisting lustrously-copper skinned lil’ Cassini will make its second weekly dive, through that gap in Saturn’s rings, collecting data the whole time. We will let you know if anything interesting is revealed, by way of a new post. Smile — on a rainy, chilly return morning, from the otherwise languid and sultry south.



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