REUTERS: Merck & Co Inc on Friday posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its full-year earnings forecast on resilient demand for its blockbuster cancer therapy Keytruda during the COVID-19 pandemic, sending its shares up 3per cent.
Sales of Keytruda, Merck's key growth driver, rose nearly 29per cent to US$3.39 billion, beating the average estimate of US$3.13 billion, according to Refinitiv data.
However, Merck said sales of its vaccines and other treatments were hurt as patients avoided doctors' offices due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a US$1.6 billion hit to its second-quarter sales.
The company also forecast a US$1.95 billion hit to 2020 revenue from the pandemic.
Merck said it now expects full year adjusted profit of between US$5.63 to US$5.78 per share, compared with its prior forecast of between US$5.17 and US$5.37 per share.
Net income attributable to shareholders rose to US$3 billion, or US$1.18 per share, in the quarter, from US$2.67 billion, or US$1.03 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, Merck earned US$1.37 per share, beating estimates of US$1.04, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)