Merck (MRK) Gains After Q1 Growth Fueled By Oral Antiviral Treatment

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Ollie Martin
Updated: 28 Apr 2022

Key points:

  • Merck reported EPS of $2.14 on revenue of $15.9B, comfortably beating analyst expectations
  • Increased FY guidance, but cuts sales guidance of its high-selling covid treatment
  • Merck is also making solid progress with cancer treatment Keytruda

Merck (NYSE: MRK) soared past Q1 earnings expectation this morning, with the biopharmaceutical giant beating on both top and bottom lines. The company soared in popularity after the company started working on Covid treatments, but some investors seem to forget that Merck has a solid existing product pipeline, making the stock much more than a play in the vaccine race. 


Merck reported adjusted EPS of $2.14 with revenue of $15.9B, comfortably beating the $1.83 and $14.68B Street consensus. The main driver for the company’s strong quarterly revenue growth was, unsurprisingly, the mass sales of its oral antiviral treatment for Covid-19 – which amounted to an impressive total of $3.2B.

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The company expressed alluring confidence moving forward, proceeding to raise its 2022 earnings guidance to between $7.24 and $7.36 per share, with hopes to touch revenue upwards of $58B, updated from previous guidance of between $7.12 to $7.27 on revenue of between $56.1B and $57.6B.

It was all about molnupiravir in Merck’s Q1 report this morning, the antiviral Covid treatment sold incredibly well since coming into focus in December, following immediate authorization from the FDA. The treatment made up 20% of the company’s first-quarter revenue, but the company has lowered its sales guidance to between $5B and $5.5B, down from the previously estimated $5B to $6B; factoring in dwindling Covid cases and higher vaccination rates. 

Pharmaceutical sales grew 50% to $14.1B compared to Q121. Merck is also making solid progress with multi-use cancer treatment Keytruda, booking sales of $4.8B across the first quarter, illustrating a 23% growth year-over-year.

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