Friday, October 24th10.4°C
23888
23372

Drugmaker Merck's Q4 profit, sales fall due to generic competition, unfavourable exchange rates

Merck & Co.'s fourth-quarter profit dropped 14 per cent, with its aggressive cost cutting not enough to offset restructuring charges, generic competition to former blockbuster medicines and unfavourable currency exchange rates.

Results just missed Wall Street expectations, and even though Merck said 2014 will be a "trough year" for revenue, shares briefly hit a six-year high of $55.20. That's because the world's third-biggest drugmaker separately announced new, potentially lucrative alliances.

Merck will collaborate with three other drugmakers to test its hot experimental cancer drug, called MK-3475, in combination with theirs. It's in a new class of cancer medicines meant to restore the immune system's natural ability to spot and target cancer cells.

In morning trading, Merck shares rose $1.05, or 2 per cent, to $54.56.

Merck reported net income of $781 million, or 26 cents per share, down from $908 million, or 30 cents per share, a year earlier.

The maker of the Type 2 diabetes pill Januvia said that excluding one-time items, net income was $2.6 billion, or 88 cents per share — a penny shy of analysts' expectations.

Revenue totalled $11.32 billion, down 4 per cent. Analysts expected $11.36 billion.

Sales were lower than expected for Januvia, HPV vaccine Gardasil and a few other products, but higher than expected for immune disorder drug Remicade, HIV drug Isentress and cholesterol pills Zetia and Vytorin.

Two issues dominated Merck's conference call with analysts. Asked about MK-3475's potential, as a solo treatment and combined with drugs from new partners Pfizer Inc., Amgen Inc. and Incyte Corp., Merck said it's too soon to tell.

Analysts also asked about Merck's strategic review of its animal health business, the world's second largest, and its consumer health business, which sells Coppertone sun care items and nonprescription Claritin allergy pills. CEO Kenneth Frazier said he's determining whether they'd be more valuable inside or outside of Merck and will decide by year's end.

Bernstein Research analyst Dr. Timothy Anderson wrote that he thinks Merck might keep animal health, which Frazier said he likes for a number of reasons, rather than consumer health, which is limited by small size. Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG reportedly is weighing deals including swapping its animal health business for Merck's consumer segment.

Merck, based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., forecast 2014 profit of $3.35 to $3.53 per share, excluding one-time items. Analysts are projecting $3.46 per share.

For all of 2013, Merck reported net income of $4.04 billion, or $1.47 per share, on revenue of $44.03 billion.

___

Follow Linda A. Johnson at http://twitter.com/LindaJ_onPharma

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

23015


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14486.83+174.76
S&P CDNX808.600.60
DJIA16677.90216.58
Nasdaq4452.792+69.945
S&P 5001950.82+23.71
CDN Dollar0.8906+0.0002
Gold1232.70+3.60
Oil81.39-0.36
Lumber334.10+4.50
Natural Gas3.592-0.03

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.11-0.01
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.17+0.02
Cantex0.0550.00
Anavex Life Sciences0.1980.00
Metalex Ventures0.04-0.01
Russel Metals33.16+0.63
Copper Mountain Mining2.08-0.02
Colorado Resources0.14-0.005
ReliaBrand Inc0.013+0.001
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.05-0.01
Mission Ready Services0.41+0.005

 



23891

FEATURED Property
20862253848 Water Road
3 bedrooms 3 baths
$1,299,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Weakening global growth worries

The Big Picture Growth worries persist Worries about weakening global growth and its potential impact on the US economic recovery roiled markets around the globe this week. Europe continues to be the ...


Keep it rubber side down

This time of year, I always worry about which friends of mine will get caught going off the road in adverse weather conditions. With a little preparation most accidents can be avoided. Having won the...


Big bank predicts rate hike

Photo: Thinkstock.comThe end of record-low rates is nigh, according to one major bank, which has taken a stance and predicted when the Bank of Canada will raise its long-standing overnight rate. &ldq...

_








Member of BC Press Council


22632