Merck & Co. (MRK) – Get the report from Merck & Co., Inc. shares fell on Friday after the drugmaker released data from a large-scale trial of its COVID pill treatment that showed a lower-than-expected rate of effectiveness against hospitalization and death in patients at high risk.
Merck said oral therapy “molnupiravir,” developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, reduced the risk of hospitalization and death in high-risk patients by 30%, well below the rate of 48% reported in one trial previous ending in October, although he noted the profile of adverse events remained constant.
Molnupiravir, or MK-4482, is designed to induce “copy errors” within a harmful virus that prevent it from replicating in the human body.
Merck said the data will be submitted to the United States Food & Drug Administration, which is reviewing its application for authorization for emergency use of molnupiravir treatment, on November 30.
based on the pre-defined interim analysis based on data from 762 patients, which is the primary analysis for the study.
“Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics have conducted a rigorous development program for molnupiravir and believe molnupiravir has the potential to address a significant unmet medical need for an oral drug for adults with COVID-19 at risk of progression towards severe COVID-19 and / or hospitalization, “the companies said in a statement Friday.” We look forward to working with the FDA and other agencies as we review our requests. “
Shares of Merck fell 4.9% early in Friday trading to change hands to $ 78.40 each.
At the end of last month, Merck posted better-than-expected earnings per share of $ 1.75 for the three months ending September, with revenue 20% to $ 12.34 billion thanks in part to strong sales from Keytruda, its successful cancer treatment, as well as its HPV vaccine Gardasil.
Turning to fiscal 2021, Merck said it expects global sales of between $ 47.4 billion and $ 47.9 billion and non-GAAP earnings between $ 5.65 and $ 5.70 per share, up from its previous forecast of $ 5.47 to $ 5.57.