Lackluster Esbriet sales, forecast scar InterMune

Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:18pm EDT

(Reuters) - InterMune Inc (ITMN.O) posted lackluster sales of its only drug Esbriet, which treats lung scarring, and forecast weak full-year revenue, sending its shares down as much as 15 percent.

William Blair & Co analyst Katherine Xu said the market was expecting Esbriet sales of about $7.4 million, while the company posted sales of only $5.5 million in the quarter.

"The relatively modest launch in Germany creates uncertainty in the size of market opportunity in Esbriet," RBC Capital Markets analyst Michael Yee said in a note to clients.

InterMune expects full-year revenue from Esbriet to be between $20 million and $25 million.

Analyst Yee was expecting full-year revenue of $30 million from the drug, while Morningstar Equity Research analyst Lauren Migliore was looking for revenue in the mid-to-high $30 million range.

InterMune sold its immune system disorder drug Actimmune, which contributed $20.2 million in revenue in 2011, to specialty drugmaker Vidara Therapeutics International Ltd for $55 million in May.

Esbriet received European regulatory approval in March 2011 to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis -- the scarring or thickening of the lungs without a known cause.

InterMune plans to sell Esbriet in France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Finland from the fourth quarter of 2012 and in the United Kingdom and Ireland from the first quarter of 2013.

Esbriet will be priced at 26,999 euros, or about $33,000 per patient per year, in Germany from September 15, down from 30,000 euros when it initially launched the product.

WIDER LOSS

InterMune loss from continuing operations widened to $50.9 million, or 78 cents per share, in the second quarter from $41.3 million, or 70 cents per share, a year earlier.

Including the one-time payment from the sale of Actimmune, the company posted a net profit of $490,000, or 1 cent per share.

Esbriet, which was rejected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May 2010, is currently being studied in a late-stage trial.

InterMune expects to complete enrollment by the year end. William Blair analyst Xu expects data from the trial by 2014.

Brisbane, California-based InterMune's stock was down 15 percent at $9.92 on Monday afternoon, making it the top percentage loser on the Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Prateek Kumar in Bangalore; Editing by Roshni Menon)

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