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Merck’s Keytruda Witnessed Solid Growth in First Half of 2018

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Keytruda revenue trends

In Q2 2018, Merck’s (MRK) Keytruda generated revenues of $1.67 billion compared to $881.0 million in Q2 2017, reflecting ~89% YoY growth. In Q2 2018, in the US and international markets, Keytruda generated revenues of $959.0 million and $707.0 million, respectively, compared to $556.0 million and $325.0 million in Q2 2017, reflecting ~73% and ~118% YoY growth.

In the first half of 2018, Keytruda reported revenues of $3.1 billion compared to $1.5 billion in the same period last year, reflecting ~114% YoY growth. In the first half of 2018, in the US market and international markets, Keytruda generated revenues of $1.8 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively, compared to $917.0 million and $547.0 million in the first half of 2017. The approval of label expansions of Keytruda and growing market share primarily pushed revenue growth of the drug in the second quarter and the first half of 2018.

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Recent developments

In July 2018, the China National Drug Administration (or CNDA) approved Merck’s Keytruda for the treatment of adults with unresectable or metastatic melanoma after failure of a previous line of therapy. Presently, Keytruda became the first and only approved anti-PD-1 therapy for the treatment of advanced melanoma. The approval of Keytruda by CNDA was based on the data from the phase 1b KEYNOTE-151 trial, which demonstrated safety and efficacy of Keytruda monotherapy in Chinese patients with advanced melanoma who previously underwent one line of therapy.

The approval of Keytruda in the Chinese market will help in the global expansion of Keytruda, which is expected to boost the revenue growth of the drug. Presently, in the US and other global markets, Keytruda has been approved for the treatment of different types of cancer including advanced NSCLC (non-small cell lung cancer), advanced melanoma, head and neck cancer, classical Hodgkin lymphoma, advanced urothelial bladder cancer, gastric cancer, cervical cancer, and primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma.

Keytruda’s peers in the marketplace include Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY) Opdivo, Novartis’s (NVS) Afinitor, and Roche’s (RHHBY) Avastin. Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo and Novartis Afinitor generated revenues of $1.6 billion and $408.0 million, respectively, in the second quarter of 2018.

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