Merck's (MRK) Keytruda Steals the Show at ESMO - Leerink
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Leerink Partners analyst Seamus Fernandez weighed in on Merck (NYSE: MRK) after Keytruda steals the show at ESMO.
Fernandezcommented, "Benefits of Keytruda in Keynote-024 support MRK's view that a “sea change” in treatment in patients with PDL1 >50% is imminent. The nearly inexplicable failure of BMY (OP) CM-026 at every level of PDL1 expression and confusion over imbalances in CM-026 puts MRK in the driver's seat in 1L lung cancer for at least the next 12-18 months, but given the stunning 50% reduction in the risk of progression or death (p=<0.001; 95% confidence interval, 0.37–0.68) together with a 40% reduction in the risk of death (p=0.005; 95% CI, 0.41–0.89), we fully expect MRK to retain a significant place at the table long term. We note that median overall survival for Keytruda of 10.3 months (95% CI, 6.7 to not reached) is consistent with our modeling assumptions. In addition, confirmation that Keytruda is clearly benefiting patients when combined with Alimta/carboplatin with Alimta maintenance raises the possibility that MRK could compete broadly in the overall non-squamous patient population."
The firm maintained an Market Perform rating and price target of $65 on MRK.
Shares of Merck closed at $62.77 yesterday.
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