* Raises 2014 adj earnings forecast to $4.75-$4.85/share
* 1st-quarter adj earnings $1.53/share vs est $1.26
(Adds details, analyst comment)
By Natalie Grover
April 24 Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc
raised its full-year profit forecast for the second time in less
than two months after robust sales of its rare-diseases drug
Soliris helped it beat average earnings estimate in the first
Sales of Soliris, Alexion's only drug on the market, rose
about 67 percent to $566.6 million, including $87.8 million
related to reimbursement of prior-year shipments to
Analysts had expected revenue of $560.2 million, according
to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The biotechnology company raised its full-year adjusted
earnings forecast to $4.75-$4.85 per share from $4.37-$4.47.
The company cut its selling, general and administrative
expense estimate for the full year by $10 million to $550-$570
million, and lowered its estimate for adjusted tax rate by 2
percentage points to 8-9 percent.
The company first raised its profit and sales forecast in
March after the French government agreed to raise reimbursement
payments for prior shipments of Soliris.
Morningstar analyst Stefan Quenneville said the company was
exhibiting a "relatively good operating leverage", considering
its focus on rare, "orphan" indications, or conditions that
affect less than 200,000 people in the United States.
Soliris, which costs about $440,000 per patient a year, is
the only approved treatment for two potentially fatal blood
disorders that can damage the kidneys, heart and brain.
It is approved in the United States, the European Union and
Japan for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria
and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome.
Alexion's net income rose to $159.4 million, or 79 cents per
share, in the quarter ended March 31, from $82.2 million, or 41
cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding special items, earnings were $1.53 per share,
above analysts' average estimate of $1.26.
Cheshire, Connecticut-based Alexion's shares were up more
than 1 percent at $154.82 in morning trading on the Nasdaq on
(Editing by Maju Samuel and Don Sebastian)