Merck & Co's immunotherapy Keytruda lung cancer tests yielded positive results, improving the firm's lead position in the oncology market.
The company announced on Monday that its tests resulted in the Keytruda treatment plus chemotherapy cutting the risk of death by 51% compared with chemotherapy alone.
The overall survival of the patients in its studies has driven the company's stock ahead and with the Keytruda treatment pegged to be commercialised soon, Merck was set to benefit from the more than 200,000 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed in the US alone each year as half of those cases, at an advanced state, could be improved by Keytruda.
Medical oncology chief at Yale Cancer Center, Dr Roy Herbst said, “The whole idea (of immunotherapy) would be to avoid chemotherapy. But it works. It's amazing that we're going to be bringing these drugs to the majority of patients with lung cancer in the first-line setting.”
Merck is currently trading at $59.20 up 0.94%, while on the other hand, rival Bristol-Myers' shares dropped 2.55% to $52.7 each.