* Decision should help reimbursement talks in Spain,
* Shares rise as much as 7 pct
(Adds background, analysts comments; Updates shares)
March 10 Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc
raised its profit and sales forecast for the year after the
French government agreed to raise reimbursement payments for the
company's treatment for two rare blood disorders.
The company's stock jumped nearly 7 percent in afternoon
The drug, Soliris, which costs about $440,000 per patient a
year, is the only approved treatment for two potentially fatal
conditions that can damage vital organs including the kidneys,
heart and brain.
Soliris, the company's sole product on the market, is
approved in the United States, the European Union and Japan for
the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and
atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome.
"This is a testament to the drug's dramatic (therapeutic)
effect," Morningstar analyst Stefan Quenneville said, as Alexion
continues to achieve favorable reimbursement terms even in an
austere pricing environment in Europe.
Deutsche Bank analysts said the French government's decision
should bode well for Alexion's ongoing reimbursement discussions
in Spain and Italy.
Britain's healthcare costs watchdog earlier this month asked
the biotechnology company to explain Soliris' expensive price
before deciding whether the treatment should be paid for by the
state health service.
Wall Street expects the drug to generate $3.1 billion a year
Wells Fargo analyst Brian Abrahams said the company's raised
forecast was somewhat unexpected, even though he had assumed
that the company's negotiations with the French government would
result in a positive outcome.
The drugmaker raised its full-year adjusted earnings
forecast to $4.37-$4.47 per share from its previous estimate of
The company raised its sales outlook to $2.15-$2.17 billion
from $2.00-$2.02 billion.
Alexion said the earnings estimate includes 37 cents and $88
million attributable to sales related to years prior to 2014,
which would be recorded in the first quarter.
Soliris is also undergoing development for use in other
"orphan" indications, or conditions that affect less than
200,000 people in the United States. The status ensures the
company seven years of market exclusivity.
Cheshire, Connecticut-based Alexion's shares were trading at
$179.51 on the Nasdaq. They have gained over 80 percent of their
value over the past year.
(Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj