Buoyed By US Tax Reform, Merck Plans $12bn In Capital Investments
Keytruda had a great year in 2017 with $3.8bn in sales, but some Merck investors would like to see more M&A activity to bolster the company's pipeline, relaxing dependency on the blockbuster PD-1 inhibitor. However, the company revealed $12bn in capital investments to support planned growth.
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Merck came out ahead in the immuno-oncology combination showdown at AACR, with a strong overall survival benefit for Keytruda/chemo in the Phase III KEYNOTE-189 study in first-line NSCLC. The data were seen as practice-changing, but Bristol's CheckMate-227 trial of Opdivo/Yervoy failed to impress in the same way.
As pharma invests its bounty from last year's tax reform in stock buybacks, capital improvements and other investments, Sen. Cory Booker issues a report suggesting companies should lower drug prices instead, but does not offer recommendations for how that might be done.