FDA Stops Mucking Around and Grants Keytruda to Merck

-By Helen Ackerley | [email protected]

Merck's Keytruda is a prescription medicine that is used to treat certain cancers such as skin and lung cancer. However its uses are expanding, with the FDA granting accelerated approval to the drug for certain solid tumors with genetic mutations.

This is the second approval for Merck this week, with last week Keytruda being approved for bladder cancer. The drug is mainly for patients who have unsuccessfully tried other forms of treatment.

"Until now, the FDA has approved cancer treatments based on where in the body the cancer started." said Richard Pazdur, the head of FDA oncology products "We have now approved a drug based on a tumor's biomarker without regard to the tumor's original location."

Merck's stock inched up slightly amidst the news and is just a few points off its highs. The stock is up 9% for the year, but investors continue to have high expectations for the company's drugs, given its high price to earnings ratio. Surprisingly, Merck has been very resilient when it comes to its stock price, and keeps moving higher, showing investor confidence in its new drug approvals such as Keytruda.

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