Merck sold $3.2 billion of its Covid oral antiviral treatment, driving first-quarter revenue growth

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Medicine pill is seen with Merck logo and words ‘Molnupiravir’ and ‘COVID-19’ displayed on a screen in the background in this illustration photo taken in Poland on November 5, 2021.
Jakub Porzycki | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Merck sold $3.2 billion of its oral antiviral treatment for Covid in the first quarter, fueling the company’s strong revenue growth.

Merck soundly beat Wall Street profit 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 between $7.12 to $7.27 on revenue of between $56.1 to $57.6 billion.

Merck’s stock rose nearly 2% in premarket trading.

Here’s how Merck performed compared with what Wall Street expected, based on analysts’ average estimates compiled by Refinitiv:

  • Adjusted earnings: $2.14 per share vs. $1.83 expected
  • Revenue: $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 outlook 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 first quarter 2021. Keytruda, an antibody treatment used against several types of cancer, booked sales of $4.8 billion, 23% growth over 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 back for updates.

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