Merck & Co Inc (NYSE: MRK) Q4 2020 earnings call dated Feb. 04, 2021
Good morning. My name is Lara and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Merck & Co. Q4 Sales and Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] After the speaker’s remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions]
Thank you. I would now like to turn the call over to Peter Dannenbaum, Vice President, Investor Relations. Sir, please go ahead.
Peter Dannenbaum — Vice President, Investor Relations
Thank you, Lara and good morning. Welcome to Merck’s fourth quarter 2020 conference call. Today, I’m joined by Ken Frazier, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Rob Davis, our Chief Financial Officer; Dr. Dean Li, President of Merck Research Lab; Frank Clyburn, our Chief Commercial Officer; and Mike Nally, our Chief Marketing Officer.
Before we get started, I’d like to point out a few items. You will see that we have items in our GAAP results such as acquisition related charges, restructuring costs, and certain other items, you should note that we have excluded these from our non-GAAP results and provide a reconciliation in our press release. We’ve also provided a table in our press release to help you understand the sales in the quarter for the business unit and products and the supplemental financials posted to our website include Recast 2020 quarters based on the reporting change we are announcing today.
I would also like to remind you that some of the statements that we make during today’s call may be considered forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are made based on the current belief of Merck’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. If our underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.
Our SEC filings, including Item 1A in the 2019 10-K identify certain risk factors and cautionary statements that could cause the company’s actual results to differ materially from those projected in any of our forward-looking statements made this morning. Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements. Our SEC filings, today’s earnings release and an investor presentation with highlights of our results are all posted on merck.com.
With that I’d like to turn the call over to Ken.
Kenneth C. Frazier — Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
Thank you, Peter. Good morning, and thank you all for joining today’s call. Before turning to our financial results and our future perspective, I’d like to make a few comments about this morning’s other announcement. It has been a distinct honor and privilege to serve this great company as the CEO over the past decade. I thank all of my Merck colleagues for their extraordinary support throughout this period. We are making this leadership change to cure in the knowledge that Merck has the elements in place for strong future of scientific innovation and profitable growth.
Rob Davis is well prepared and well suited to help Merck capitalize on the many exciting opportunities before as well as to take on the challenges that lie ahead. He and the Merck senior team will provide outstanding leadership for our company in the coming years. Given Merck’s current position of strength, the Merck board and I believe it is a good time to begin transitioning the company’s day-to-day decision-making as well as the strategic direction to Rob who will assume the title of President in April.
At which point our operating divisions, human health, animal health manufacturing and research will begin reporting to him. I will retire as CEO at the end of June, but remain for a some period of time as Executive Chairman to assist Rob, Dean and the rest of the senior team. I’m extremely confident in the capabilities and commitment of Merck’s people and Rob’s ability to guide the company to an even brighter future.
Moving onto our results. Despite challenges from the pandemic, Merck achieved solid growth in revenues and earnings in 2020 made meaningful advancements in our pipeline and added important assets through business development. Despite the particular impact to our portfolio, the underlying demand for our innovative medicines and vaccines remained strong. And our initial guidance reflects our expectation for a return to strong growth this year 2021.
Looking out to 2024, we continue to believe our revenue potential is under-appreciated. Longer term the work we are doing and advancing our internal pipeline and in adding assets through business development gives us increasing line of sight to significant potential growth drivers later this decade and into the next. I’m amazed by the dedication of our employees who rally to keep supply other interrupted regulatory filings on track and clinical and commercial execution in line with our goal. And I remain continually inspired by what Merck accomplishes for patients around the world.
I’m also encouraged by the progress scientific experts across the biopharmaceutical industry have achieved and bringing vaccines to market that will help address the pandemic and start to return the world to normalcy. These successes further underscore the societal value of our industries ongoing investments in science and innovation. Merck remains committed to developing an effective response to COVID- 19 also. We have discontinued development of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate, but our therapeutic research programs continue to move forward.
We believe that our oral antiviral candidate molnupiravir could make an important contribution to treating COVID-19 patients and we look forward to seeing the results of our pivotal trial. More recently, we acquired OncoImmune immune and has accelerated the development of MK-7110, a Phase 3 candidate with strong potential in the treatment of severe and critical COVID-19 patients.