* Expects $30 mln-$40 mln of H1N1 vaccine revs in Q4
* Sees H1N1 vaccine business as multiyear opportunity
By Debra Sherman
CHICAGO, Oct 15 Baxter International
Inc(BAX.N), best known for its drug pumps and products for
blood disorders and kidney disease, said it sees a lucrative
new revenue source in vaccines and a multiyear opportunity in
H1N1 swine flu vaccines.
The hospital products maker said it expects to recognize
$30 million to $40 million of revenue from H1N1 vaccines in the
fourth quarter. It began shipping the product in August.
"We increasingly believe this has the potential to
translate into a significant longer-term opportunity for the
company," Baxter Chief Executive Robert Parkinson said on a
conference call on Thursday.
He declined to speculate on sales beyond the fourth
quarter, noting that sales will depend upon many factors,
including further improvements in vaccine yields, final dosing
regimens and the how bad this flu strain turns out to be.
Baxter has regulatory approval for a two-dose vaccine, but
not a single dose.
"I think it is fair to say there probably is some increased
optimism," Parkinson said of the company's cell culture-based
vaccine program -- an alternative to vaccines traditionally
produced using chicken eggs.
He said there was some question within Baxter about whether
the swine flu pandemic represented a one-time opportunity or a
"I think we are increasingly feeling that this is a
sustainable business opportunity," he said.
He noted that the World Health Organization recently said
it believed that "this is something that governments, in fact
the world, are going to have to continue to live with."
Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA) , the MedImmune unit of
AstraZeneca (AZN.L), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) and Novartis
NOVN.VX also produce H1N1 vaccines.
Other flu treatments are expected to bolster the bottom
line of drugmakers, as well.
Roche ROG.VX on Thursday reported stronger-than-expected
third-quarter sales of its antiviral drug Tamiflu and raised
its sales forecast on the medicine for the full year.
The robust Tamiflu sales reported by Roche also signal a
small windfall ahead for Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O), which
collects a healthy royalty on sales of the medicine.
Robert W Baird analyst Thomas Russo forecast in a research
note that Tamiflu sales would add 8 cents a share to Gilead's
fourth-quarter earnings and another 6 cents per share to its
first-quarter 2010 results.
More significantly, Russo said Roche commentary suggests
that "a higher level of sales maybe sustainable over the
intermediate term at least," a longer period than investors are
generally accustomed to.
He noted that several governments that stockpile Tamiflu as
a hedge against pandemic flu outbreaks are now looking to
reorder the drug as some of their current inventories approach
a seven-year expiration date.
(Additional reporting by Bill Berkrot in New York; Editing by