Infosec, Manufacturing, R&D

Merck admits cyberattack is having an impact on research, manufacturing — we’re just not sure how big

Merck is still grappling with just how much damage they’ve incurred as a collateral victim of the NotPetya attack one month ago. And as a direct consequence, they’re cutting their profit outlook and signaling delays with some product supply orders.

The pharma giant disclosed the news this morning in their earnings report, with CFO Rob Davis telling analysts the company is still “assessing the full impact.”  But it has clearly had an impact on the numbers. “The guidance would have been higher without the cyberattack,” Davis added.

Supplies of Keytruda, Januvia and Zepatier will not be affected, according to the drugmaker.

Shares $MRK were flat in mid-morning trading.

The company isn’t producing any bulk product yet from any of its own facilities, but supplies continue flowing from contract manufacturing relationships. In a statement to Endpoints News, Merck admits research has been affected, but would not elaborate on dosing interruptions or trial schedule changes.

The cyber-attack led to a disruption of our worldwide operations, including research.  However, we have been able to maintain our clinical trial execution plan and we continue to pursue previously outlined priorities.

On June 27, thousands of companies around the world were hit by NotPetya  — an exploit based on stolen NSA technology. Microsoft first encountered the virus with “worm capabilities” in 12,500 computers in Ukraine, which then spread laterally to another 64 counties including the United States, infecting computers that were not patched with critical updates.

Merck claims the patches were installed. At the time they said, “government authorities working with us have confirmed that the malware responsible for the attack contained a unique combination of characteristics that enabled it to infect company systems despite installation of recent software patches.”


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