Merck’s KEYTRUDA-LENVIMA Combo Bags Second Approval in Japan

Merck (NYSE: MRK) has announced that the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has given permission to combine KEYTRUDA and LENVIMA for radically unresectable or metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

KEYTRUDA is Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy that works by increasing the ability of the body’s immune system to help detect and fight tumor cells. LENVIMA is an orally available multiple receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

The combination is also approved in the U.S. and Europe for the first-line treatment of adult patients with advanced RCC.

The recent approval has been bagged following the results from the pivotal Phase 3 CLEAR (Study 307)/KEYNOTE-581 trial. The combination was seen to have reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 61%.

Stock Rating

Last week, Credit Suisse analyst Lorenzo Biasio maintained a Buy rating on Merck with a price target of $87 (14% upside potential from current levels).

The rest of the Street is cautiously optimistic about the stock with a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 9 Buys and 6 Holds. The average Merck price target of $90 implies 17.9% upside potential to current levels.

Blogger Opinion

TipRanks data shows that financial blogger opinions are 92% Bullish on MRK, compared to a sector average of 70%.

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