Merck & Co. Inc and Astra Zeneca have received FDA approval for Lynparza, a PARP inhibitor meant to treat prostate cancer. The drug was previously approved to treat breast and oral cancers. The approval came much earlier than expected. Prostate cancer is the second-most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the US. Merck’s results for 2019 had reported Lynparza generating $444 million for the company in 2019. This number is now poised to go up even further.
According to Roger Perlmutter, President, Merck Research Laboratories, “Since I began working with the KEYTRUDA program back in 2013, we have been exploring a whole variety of different combinations with various agents and that’s what led us, of course, to partner with AstraZeneca on Lynparza.” KEYTRUDA is America’s first approved anti-PD-1 therapy and a registered trademark of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., one of many Merck subsidiaries.
The news of the FDA approval provides a boost to Merck which has seen its business affected, as per Merck earnings report, due to a drop in patient interactions and healthcare provider interactions. Merck results for Q12020 had reported revenues of $12.1 billion, a Y-o-Y increase of 11%. The overall demand for innovative Merck products remains strong. According to Kenneth Frazier, CEO, Merck & Co. Inc, “Our financial strength and strong balance sheet allow us to continue with our capital allocation priorities including investing in R&D and in our growth drivers, investing in manufacturing capacity expansion, paying out dividend and continuing our search for value enhancing business development, which remains a top priority.”
Merck & Co. Inc stock price closed at $76.37 on May 22nd 2020, down 3.74% for the month.