The medicinal pill is seen with the Merck logo and the words ‘Molnupiravir’ and ‘COVID-19’ on a background screen in this illustration photo taken in Poland on November 5, 2021.
Jakub Porzycki | NurPhoto | fake images
Merck it sold $3.2 billion of its oral antiviral treatment for Covid in the first quarter, fueling strong revenue growth for the company.
Merck far exceeded Wall Street earnings and revenue forecasts, reporting earnings of $2.14 per share on $15.9 billion in revenue. The company raised its 2022 earnings guidance to between $7.24 and $7.36 per share on $56.9 billion to $58.1 billion in revenue. It previously projected earnings per share of between $7.12 and $7.27 on revenue of between $56.1 and $57.6 billion.
Merck shares rose nearly 2% in premarket trading.
Here’s how Merck performed compared to what Wall Street expected, according to average analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv:
- adjusted earnings: $2.14 per share vs. $1.83 expected
- Income: $15.9 billion vs. $14.68 billion
Merck’s Covid treatment, molnupiravir, has sold well since the Food and Drug Administration authorized the pill in December. It made up 20% of the company’s first-quarter revenue. However, Merck lowered its 2022 sales guidance for molnupiravir to between $5 billion and $5.5 billion, down from its previous guidance of $5 billion to $6 billion. Merck splits profits from the pill equally with its partner Ridgeback Therapeutics.
Overall pharmaceutical sales grew 50% to $14.1 billion compared to the first quarter of 2021. Keytruda, an antibody treatment used against various types of cancer, posted sales of $4.8 billion, a 23% growth from to the same quarter last year. Gardasil, Merck’s HPV vaccine, grew 59% to $1.46 billion compared to 2021.
This is a developing story. Please check for updates.