Merck, the German drugmaker, has secured US regulatory approval for an immunotherapy treatment for advanced skin cancer in a long-awaited win for its research and development pipeline.
The medicine, marketed as Bavencio, is the first treatment to be given the go-ahead by the Food and Drug Administration for patients with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of skin cancer.
Peter Verdult, analyst at Citi, said that Merck had “finally secured regulatory approval, three months early, for an internally discovered product”.
Steve McGarry, analyst at HSBC, suggested the approval of Bavencio “opens up further options for Merck’s pharma business”.
However, the medicine might “enable Merck to capitalise on the value of the business rather than continue to invest in it at the expense of the overall group’s earnings for what could be a prolonged period”, he added.