* 4th quarter adjusted EPS $1.22 vs Street view $1.10
* 4th quarter Eylea sales $276 million
* Sees 2013 Eylea sales of $1.2 bln to $1.3 bln
* Shares fall 3.4 percent
By Bill Berkrot
Feb 14 Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc on
Thursday reported a profit that exceeded Wall Street estimates
for the sixth consecutive quarter as sales of its new Eylea eye
drug for the leading cause of blindness in the elderly continued
Eylea, which improves vision in patients with age-related
macular degeneration, saw U.S. sales rise to $276 million in the
fourth quarter despite major storms that disrupted business in
the Northeast during the period. Eylea sales were $244 million
in the previous quarter.
The biotechnology company reaffirmed the 2013 Eylea sales
forecast of $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion it issued in January.
But investors accustomed to Regeneron consistently raising
Eylea forecasts sent the companies high flying shares, which
have tripled over the past 14 months, down more than 3 percent.
"Obviously Regeneron has been a fantastic performer driven by
their macular degeneration drug Eylea," said Piper Jaffray
analyst Edward Tenthoff.
But he said the drug has already seen solid penetration into
U.S. clinics and that investors were likely to see less of the
company beating Eylea sales expectations and raising forecasts
Eylea is sold by Germany's Bayer AG outside the
"Our partner Bayer HealthCare has begun to launch Eylea in
Japan, Europe, Australia, and other regions, and we expect to
see substantial sales growth through 2013 and beyond as pricing
approvals are received," Regeneron Chief Executive Leonard
Schleifer said in a statement.
The company is also in late stage testing of Eylea for two
other eye conditions that could further expand sales with
eventual additional approvals.
On an adjusted basis, Regeneron earned $1.22 per share,
beating analysts' average estimates of $1.10 per share,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
It posted a fourth-quarter net profit of $470 million, or
$4.08 per share, compared with a loss of $53.4 million, or 58
cents per share, a year earlier.
Regeneron had preannounced its fourth-quarter results.
"The one surprise was that the beat was driven by a one-time
tax gain," Tenthoff said.
Total revenue for the quarter more than tripled to $414.6
million, topping Wall Street estimates of $392.6 million.
The drug Zaltrap, which was approved in the United States in
August to treat colorectal cancer, had sales of $23 million for
its first full quarter.
Regeneron shares were down $5.85, or 3.4 percent, at $164.50
in midday trading on Nasdaq.