(Corrects to show year as 2022, not 2020, in first paragraph)
FRANKFURT, June 12 (Reuters) - Germany’s Merck KGaA said its forecast of 2 billion euros ($2.24 billion) in 2022 sales from drugs under development was above the analyst consensus mainly because of the underrated potential of cancer drug avelumab and multiple sclerosis treatment cladribine.
“We take a slightly more bold view on avelumab,” Rehan Verjee, chief strategy officer at Merck’s healthcare unit, told analysts in a call.
“We consider cladribine a prospect. Clearly we appreciate that hasn’t been something that many of you have actually looked at or considered a reality,” he said, also pointing to experimental lung cancer drug tepotinib as being among other underestimated opportunities.
MS drug cladribine, which is under review by European regulators, might also be filed for regulatory approval in the United States, depending on ongoing discussions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Avelumab, branded as Bavencio, is being co-developed with Pfizer. ($1 = 0.8926 euros) (Reporting by Ludwig Burger)