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MRK

Merck

$72.34

0.12 (0.17%)

12:26
10/21/18
10/21
12:26
10/21/18
12:26

Merck's Keytruda shows complete response rate of nearly 40% in high-risk NMIBC

Merck announced the first presentation of results from an interim analysis of KEYNOTE-057, a Phase 2 trial evaluating Keytruda, Merck's anti-PD-1 therapy, for previously treated patients with high-risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer with carcinoma in situ or CIS plus papillary disease. An interim analysis of the study's primary endpoint showed a complete response rate of 38.8 % at three months with Keytruda in patients whose disease was unresponsive to Bacillus Calmette-Guerin therapy, the current standard of care for this disease, and who were ineligible for or who refused to undergo radical cystectomy. The study's primary endpoints are CR rate and disease-free survival rate. The secondary endpoints include safety and duration of response. At the time of analysis, 72.5% of responding patients had an ongoing response and 25% experienced recurrent disease after CR. One patient who did not develop recurrent disease discontinued study treatment and started alternative therapy. No patients in Cohort A developed muscle invasive or metastatic urothelial carcinoma. Of the patients who achieved a CR at three months, 80% had a CR lasting for six months or longer, based on the Kaplan-Meier method. The median duration of response was not yet reached. The median follow-up was 14.0 months. The safety of Keytruda in KEYNOTE-057 was consistent with what has been seen in previous trials among patients treated with Keytruda monotherapy. Treatment-related adverse events occurred in 63.1% of patients. The most common TRAEs with an incidence of 5% or more were pruritus, fatigue, diarrhea, hypothyroidism and maculopapular rash. Grade 3-5 TRAEs occurred in 13 patients, and there was one treatment-related death, per investigator assessment.

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MRK Merck
$72.34

0.12 (0.17%)

10/11/18
FBCO
10/11/18
NO CHANGE
Target $81
FBCO
Outperform
Merck price target raised to $81 from $71 at Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse analyst Vamil Divan raised his price target for Merck to $81 from $71, while reiterating an Outperform rating on the shares. While the shares have had a significant move this year, the analyst sees room for additional upside as the company continues to roll out Keytruda, most notably in the 1st line non-small cell lung setting. However, Divan also acknowledges longer-term investors remain concerned about how the company will navigate the Januvia patent expiration in mid-2022.
10/16/18
BTIG
10/16/18
INITIATION
Target $82
BTIG
Buy
Esperion initiated with a Buy at BTIG
BTIG analyst Thomas Shrader initiated Esperion (ESPR) with a Buy rating and a price target of $82, saying that with its development of bempedoic acid, or BA, to reduce cholesterol, the next key question is about the drug's safety. The analyst notes that while the data from Study 1 in May were disappointing, Study 2 readout in the next few weeks should have more answers. Shrader adds that the introduction of "non-stain" into the cholesterol market has already worked for Merck's (MRK) Zetia, and if BA is perceived well on its safety profile, it is "highly supportive" of its investment story.
10/16/18
SBSH
10/16/18
NO CHANGE
Target $79
SBSH
Buy
Merck price target raised to $79 from $70 at Citi
Citi analyst Andrew Baum raised his price target for Merck (MRK) to $79 and reiterates a Buy rating on the shares. Following upward revisions to his Lynparza expectations, the analyst raised his earnings forecasts for Merck by 1%-9% over the 2021 to 2025 timeframe. The analyst anticipates that positive Lynparza first-line ovarian cancer trial will make Lynparza standard of care in wild type first-line ovarian cancer patients and leaving it well positioned to take market share in immuno-oncology based combinations post 2021. Baum also raised his price target for AstraZeneca (AZN), Merck's partner on Lynparza, to GBP 70 from GBP 62. He also has a Buy rating on those shares.
10/16/18
WELS
10/16/18
NO CHANGE
WELS
Drug price in ads not impactful, may cause confusion, says Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo analyst David Maris acknowledges that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' proposal to include drug prices in advertisements has a "noble goal" of making drugs more affordable and keeping patients well informed. However, given how different list prices are relative to out of pocket costs, "one must ask if this is increasing transparency or likely going to lead to more confusion," he contends. The analyst also believes that the unintended consequence could be worse care, while noting that the drug price information will likely fall into the category of the side effect information in drug ads currently, tuned out by many and will have no material impact. While he supports the idea of increased transparency, Maris wonders whether the potential benefit is not outweighed by the potential negative for the most vulnerable. Publicly traded companies in the space include AstraZeneca (AZN), Bristol-Myers (BMY), Eli Lilly (LLY), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Merck (MRK), Novartis (NVS), Pfizer (PFE), Roche (RHHBY) and Sanofi (SNY).

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