(Adds details on experimental cholesterol drug, updates shares)
By Ransdell Pierson
Aug 5 Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc on
Tuesday reported higher-than-expected quarterly results on
surging demand for its Eylea treatment for macular degeneration,
and stuck to its full-year sales forecast for the drug.
Revenue, including research collaboration payments from
French drugmaker Sanofi, jumped 45 percent to $666
million in the second quarter, topping the average forecast of
$648 million among analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Eylea's U.S. sales rose 26 percent to $415 million, above
Wall Street expectations of $410 million.
But Regeneron, which often raises its U.S. Eylea sales
forecasts, stuck to its view of $1.7 billion to $1.8 billion for
the full year.
"It was a solid quarter for Eylea, but you can't raise sales
guidance every quarter," said Morningstar analyst Stefan
Quenneville. Some investors may have been disappointed that
Regeneron had not nudged its 2014 view higher, Quenneville said.
Although shares fell in premarket trading, they recovered
and were up almost 3 percent by mid-morning.
Eylea gained momentum from disappointing 14 percent U.S.
sales growth in the prior quarter that was due largely to a drop
in distributor inventory, said Robert Baird analyst Christopher
"We wondered if weakness in ophthalmology office visits
could have spilled over into (Regeneron's) second quarter
results, but no signs of that," Raymond said.
Bayer AG, which sells Eylea outside the United
States, reported a more than doubling of sales in those markets
to $247 million. Regeneron recognized $67 million from its share
of those sales.
Regeneron earned $93 million, or 82 cents per share,
including expenses for taxes and compensation. It earned $87
million, or 79 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding special items, Regeneron earned $2.47 per share.
Analysts on average expected $2.29.
Macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness among
the elderly. Eylea also treats macular edema, a buildup of fluid
in the back of the eye. It was approved last week for a related
sight-robbing condition called diabetic macular edema.
Regeneron is developing other promising medicines with
Sanofi, including alirocumab, which lowers cholesterol by
blocking the protein PCSK9.
Although Regeneron was the first company to begin
development of a PCSK9 inhibitor, Amgen Inc has jumped
ahead with trials of its drug, AMG 145.
Regeneron and Sanofi last week said alirocumab slashed
cholesterol in nine late-stage studies. An interim safety
analysis of one trial suggested it lowers heart attack risk.
One day later, the drugmakers said they had paid $67.5
million for a voucher from BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc
that could assure alirocumab an expedited six-month U.S.
regulatory review, rather than the standard 10 months.
A speedier review could help alirocumab catch up with AMG
145, analysts said. The partners bought the transferable voucher
from BioMarin, which acquired it under a U.S. program that
encourages development of drugs for rare pediatric diseases.
(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and