uploads/2017/09/Chart-04-Keytruda-Revenues-1.jpg

Introducing Merck’s 2Q17 Immuno-Oncology Blockbuster

By

Updated

Keytruda  

Keytruda is a prescription medicine in Merck’s (MRK) immuno-oncology franchise that was launched in 4Q14. The drug is currently approved for the treatment of the following forms of tumors:

  • advanced non-small cell lung cancer
  • advanced melanoma
  • squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck
  • classical Hodgkin lymphoma
  • microsatellite instability-high cancer
  • advanced urothelial bladder cancer

For 2Q17, Keytruda reported revenues of $881 million, which represents 183% growth at constant exchange rates, compared with its revenues of $314 million in 2Q16.

Article continues below advertisement

Keytruda’s uses

Keytruda is approved for the treatment of PD-L1 positive non-small cell lung cancer in patients who have reported disease progression after treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy, if the tumor has shown an abnormal ALK or EGFR gene but the ALK or EGFR inhibitors did not work.

Keytruda is also approved for patients with advanced melanoma with whom Yervoy (ipilimumab) did not work and wherein the tumor shows an abnormal BRAF gene (but the BRAF inhibitor did not work). Keytruda is also approved for patients with metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck, who have reported disease progression after the platinum-based chemotherapy.

Keytruda has received approval for the treatment of classical Hodgkin lymphoma in patients who have received three or more treatments or have undergone treatment (but the treatment didn’t work). Keytruda is also approved for the treatment of advanced urothelial carcinoma in patients who have undergone platinum-based chemotherapy, and for microsatellite instability-high tumor or mismatch repair deficient solid tumors, in the case of previously treated patients in whom the tumor has spread and cannot be removed by surgery.

Recent developments of Keytruda  

Keytruda is under clinical development program studies for more than 30 tumor types in over 550 clinical studies as a monotherapy and also in combination with other existing therapies.

To divest company-specific risks, investors can consider ETFs like the SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF (XPH), which has 4.3% of its total assets in Merck (MRK). XPH also has 4.5% in Pfizer (PFE), 4.9% in Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), and 4.3% in Johnson & Johnson (JNJ).

Advertisement

More From Market Realist