Zac, Jessica, Jana and Julie are "Beyond Tired." That's the name of the new awareness campaign from Merck & Co. and the National Sleep Foundation, featuring four average Americans and their insomnia experiences as a way to promote and discuss sleep health.
For the first time since 2013, Bristol-Myers Squibb reported a year-over-year quarterly ad spending increase. Advertising and product promotion costs rose 13% to $193 million, following two quarters of double-digit decreases this year--and a 14% overall decrease for all of 2014. The last time ad spending was up year over year was 2013's fourth quarter.
GlaxoSmithKline has struck a deal to trial its anti-OX40 monoclonal antibody in combination with Merck's Keytruda. The Phase I study is part of a slate of programs that GSK is hoping will support filings for up to 20 new drug approvals in the coming years, the success rate of which will go a long way to deciding whether the company can bounce back from its recent travails.
Drug R&D is a tough business. The odds are almost always against success, and the price to be paid for being wrong is cruelly high. That said, it did seem a little harder than usual this year to...
So far this year, Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo has grown about two times faster than Merck & Co.'s Keytruda, to $305 million and $159 million in third-quarter sales, respectively. And the FDA helped that trend along this month, when it gave Opdivo a new approval in non-small cell lung cancer several months early--just a week after Keytruda won its NSCLC green light.
Industry watchers have been speculating for months on what pricing strategy Merck will use with its forthcoming hepatitis C combo. After all, it will enter a market already divided by the Gilead Sciences-AbbVie battle. And while Merck's president of global human health, Adam Schechter, wouldn't reveal much on the Q3 earnings call, he did say Merck doesn't intend to follow in AbbVie's footsteps.
The good news for Merck & Co.'s Januvia and other DPP-4 diabetes fighters: So far, there's no evidence that doctors or patients are jumping ship for SGLT2 meds, a newer class where Eli Lilly & Co. and Boehringer Ingelheim recently posted impressive cardiovascular data.
Merck said on Tuesday that its animal health sales in the third quarter dropped 7% year over year to $825 million, but the decline was entirely the fault of negative exchange rates. When the impact of currency rates was taken out, the unit's sales were actually up 7%--and the company attributed the rise largely to the popularity of Bravecto, its chewable flea-and-tick fighter, which hit the market in 2014.
Merck noted some developments in Japan central to two key drug franchises in oncology and diabetes on the Oct. 27 third quarter earnings call.
Along with its third-quarter financials, Merck & Co. delivered some more bad news about its Remicade brand: Discounted biosimilar versions are grabbing market share and eroding sales, and that trend isn't going to change.