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How Merck’s Human Vaccines Business Performed in 1Q18

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Human vaccines business: Gardasil

In 1Q18, Merck’s (MRK) human vaccines business saw its total revenue grow 4.2% YoY (year-over-year) to $1.5 billion from $1.4 billion. Its Gardasil franchise includes vaccines used to prevent strains of sexually transmitted HPV (human papillomavirus) infections that cause genital warts and have been linked with cervical, vulvar, anal, penile, and vaginal cancer. 

The above chart shows Gardasil revenue since 1Q17. In 1Q18, Gardasil sales grew 24% YoY to $660 million from $532 million, driven by 20% operating revenue growth and a 4% boost by foreign exchange. GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Cervarix is also approved for the prevention of HPV infections.

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Other human vaccines

Merck’s other human vaccines include ProQuad/Varivax, Pneumovax 23, RotaTeq, and Zostavax. In 1Q18, ProQuad/Varivax revenue grew 10% YoY to $392 million from $355 million, driven by strong demand.

Pneumovax 23, a pneumococcal vaccine, saw its sales grow 9% YoY in 1Q18 to $179 million from $163 million, also driven by strong demand. Other pneumococcal vaccines available include Pfizer’s (PFE) Prevnar 13 and GlaxoSmithKline’s Synflorix.

In 1Q18, Rotateq revenue fell YoY to $193 million from $224 million due to lower demand. Zostavax, which prevents herpes zoster infections in adults over 50 years old, saw its revenue fall YoY to $65 million from $154 million, also due to lower demand. The VanEck Vectors Pharmaceuticals ETF (PPH) holds 5.5% of its total investments in Merck, 5.5% in AstraZeneca (AZN), 5.1% in Pfizer, and 5.5% in GlaxoSmithKline.

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