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Bristol-Myers' Opdivo Vs. Merck's Keytruda In Front-Line Lung Treatment

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Bristol-Myers' Opdivo Vs. Merck's Keytruda In Front-Line Lung Treatment
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Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) shares are pushing higher by 1.9 percent on Monday following the company’s encouraging new data on Keytruda. On Sunday, Merck reported that Keytruda reduced patient deaths by 40 percent compared to chemotherapy alone and cut disease progression in half.

While that data is great news for Merck shareholders, it’s a blow to competitor Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE: BMY), which is down 8.7 percent in early Monday trading. Bristol-Myers released the full data on disappointing cancer drug Opdivo over the weekend, and the results were even worse than investors had feared. Opdivo has yet to demonstrate that it can slow tumor growth or save lives better than current chemotherapy methods.

Barclays analyst Geoff Meacham sees a clear winner between the two drugs. According to Meacham, Merck could be looking at a potential Keytruda market of up to 60 percent of eligible IL lung patients.

“We see the Keytruda data driving an upward bias to consensus forecasts and further upside in MRK shares while the surprises in CM-026 and uncertain timelines for the next front line data readouts are likely to dash the Bristol hope trade coming into this meeting,” Meacham explains.

Related Link: Ariad Pharmaceuticals Raises Cancer Drug Price For The 4th Time This Year

Barclays notes that each 5 percent of 1L market share equates to $150 million in 2018 sales.

Following the latest data from the two companies, Barclays maintains an Equal-Weight rating on Bristol-Myers and an Overweight rating on Merck.

Latest Ratings for BMY

DateFirmActionFromTo
Oct 2017Credit SuisseMaintainsNeutral
Oct 2017Leerink SwannMaintainsOutperform
Oct 2017CitigroupMaintainsBuy

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