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Merck quarterly results beat forecasts, shares rise

Merck & Co (MRK.N) reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings, fueled by sales of its new Keytruda immuno-oncology drug and Januvia diabetes treatment, sending its shares up 2 percent in premarket trading.

The second-biggest U.S. drugmaker said revenue grew 1 percent in the second quarter to $9.84 billion, above analysts' average estimate of $9.78 billion.

Keytruda, a recently approved treatment for melanoma and lung cancer that Merck is counting on to boost its earnings for years to come, posted sales of $314 million, about $20 million more than analysts had forecast.

The medicine, which takes the brakes off the immune system, is competing with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co's (BMY.N) similar Opdivo treatment. They belong to a new family of medicines called PD-1...