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Merck: quarterly profit rises, unveils spin-off plan

(CercleFinance.com) - This Wednesday Merck reported higher quarterly profit, thanks to the soaring sales of its cancer drug Keytruda, and announced its intention to spin off its women's health, legacy brands, and biosimilars businesses into a new publicly traded company.


The products to be spun off into the yet-to-be-named independent firm are expected to generate full-year revenue of approximately 6.5 billion dollars, Merck said.

The move will enable the US biopharmaceutical company to focus on its current key pillars of oncology, vaccines, hospital and animal health, it said.

The deal is expected to be completed in the first half of 2021. For Q4 to 31 December, the drugmaker's net income excluding certain items rose to 2.98 billion dollars, or 1.16 dollar per share, from 2.75 billion dollars, or 1.04 dollar per share, a year ago.

Fourth-quarter worldwide sales were 11.9 billion dollars, up 8%, as sales of Keytruda - which is approved to treat some forms of lung and bladder cancer - jumped by 46% to 3.11 billion dollars.

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