October 28, 2010 / 11:49 AM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 3-Celgene 3rd-qtr profit, sales top expectations

* Celgene non-GAAP EPS 75 cents vs 71 cents/shr view

* Celgene Q3 revenue $910.1 mln vs $880.8 mln view

* Revlimid sales rose 43 pct to $641.3 mln

* Raises 2010 earnings, sales forecast

* Shares up more than 3 percent in morning trading (Adds comments from CEO, analyst, updates share price)

By Toni Clarke

BOSTON, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Celgene Corp (CELG.O) said on Thursday its third-quarter earnings rose 30 percent, topping expectations, on higher sales of its multiple myeloma drug Revlimid, sending its shares up more than 3 percent.

Celgene is the fastest-growing of all the big biotechnology companies, fueled by sales of Revlimid — a successor to its drug Thalomid — and Vidaza, its drug to treat a group of rare blood disorders known as myelodysplastic syndromes.

Revlimid now holds 42 percent of the U.S. multiple myeloma market as physicians increasingly use the drug to treat patients for longer durations. The company is also testing the drug in other types of cancer, and is expanding into other countries.

“We have significant growth opportunities in myeloma in different regions and also in other indications,” said Robert Hugin, Celgene’s chief executive, on a conference call with analysts. “We’re not nearly at the end of the Revlimid growth story.”

Net profit rose to $281.2 million, or 60 cents a share, from $217 million, or 46 cents a share a year ago.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 75 cents a share. Analysts on average had expected the company to earn 71 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose to $910.1 million from $695 million a year ago. Analysts had expected revenue of about $880.8 million.

Sales of Revlimid rose 43 percent to $641.3 million while sales of Vidaza rose 37 percent to $141.4 million.

“In our view, third-quarter results were stronger than even the most bullish expectations, particularly on Revlimid,” said Geoff Meacham, an analyst at J.P. Morgan.

Celgene increased its financial forecast for the year, saying it expects revenue to rise 34 percent to about $3.60 billion, up from a prior range of $3.40 billion to $3.45 billion.

The company said it expects earnings excluding one-time items to range between $2.78 and $2.80 a share, up from a previous range of $2.65 to $2.70 a share.

It expects Revlimid sales to rise about 44 percent to $2.45 billion, up from a previous range of $2.30 billion to $2.35 billion.

Analysts on average expect the company to earn $2.73 a share for the full year, on revenue of $3.48 billion.

“The results bode well for the company’s continued strong performance and suggest that consensus estimates, and in particular the allowances for incremental revenue based on maintenance use of Revlimid, are likely to increase further,” said Geoffrey Porges, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein.

Celgene’s forecast includes the impact of its acquisition earlier this year of Abraxis BioScience Inc for $2.9 billion.

The acquisition was designed to expand Celgene’s cancer drug franchise from blood cancers to solid tumors. Abraxis makes Abraxane, a drug approved for breast cancer that combines a chemotherapy agent with albumin, a human protein that wraps around the drug and allows it to be given in higher doses.

Investors are watching for late-stage clinical data of the drug’s ability to extend progression-free survival in lung cancer patients, expected in mid to late December. Some analysts have argued that investors will judge whether the acquisition was a good one based on the outcome of the lung cancer trial.

Celgene’s shares rose 3.2 percent to $61.31 in mid-morning trading on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Toni Clarke, Editing by Maureen Bavdek, Dave Zimmerman)

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