By Dave Sebastian

 

Merck & Co. Inc. said its profit and sales for the September quarter rose as it continued to work on treatments and vaccines for Covid-19.

The Kenilworth, N.J.-based pharmaceutical company on Tuesday posted third-quarter profit of $2.94 billion, or $1.16 a share, compared with $1.9 billion, or 74 cents a share, in the comparable quarter last year.

Adjusted earnings were $1.74 a share. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting $1.44 a share.

Revenue rose to $12.55 billion from $12.4 billion. Analysts were looking for $12.21 billion.

"Demand for our products remains robust, and production, supply and distribution of our medicines, vaccines and animal health products are moving forward with minimal disruption," Chairman and Chief Executive Kenneth Frazier said.

Merck is working on two vaccine candidates, along with an antiviral treatment for people who fall ill from Covid-19. Last month, Merck began testing its first vaccine in humans and results could come by November. It hopes to produce a single-dose vaccine, perhaps one that can be administered orally. That could make a vaccine easier to scale up for mass vaccinations than the shots some rivals are testing, some of which require more than one dose.

Chief executives of Merck and eight other drugmakers in September signed a pledge promising not to file for regulatory approval or authorization of their experimental Covid-19 vaccines until the shots have been shown to work safely through late-stage clinical testing.

 

Write to Dave Sebastian at dave.sebastian@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 27, 2020 07:11 ET (11:11 GMT)

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