October 31, 2018 / 8:31 AM / 20 days ago

Additional drug development costs curb Sobi's profit outlook

STOCKHOLM, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Drugmaker Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi) cut its full-year profit outlook on Wednesday due to development costs, even as it lifted its sales forecast after a strong performance by haemophilia drug Elocta.

Shares in Sobi, which specialises in drugs for rare diseases, tumbled 8 percent in early trade.

The drugmaker beat third-quarter earnings forecast but trimmed its forecast for full-year earnings before interest, taxes and amortization (EBITA) due to costs related to emapalumab, a late-stage orphan drug candidate that it bought the rights for this summer.

Sobi said in July it had reached an exclusive licensing deal with Swiss firm Novimmune SA for the global rights to emapalumab.

The company forecast 2018 EBITA in the range of 3.4 billion-3.5 billion Swedish crowns ($382 million), at the lower end of an earlier forecast for 3.4 billion-3.6 billion.

However, it said it now expected 2018 sales of 8.9 billion-9 billion crowns, up from 8.6 billion-8.8 billion previously. It also raised its gross margin forecast to 73-74 percent from “at least” 70 percent previously.

Sobi said the new EBITA outlook factored in around 200 million crowns in development and commercialisation costs for emapalumab, which were not included in the previous forecast.

Analysts had forecast Sobi’s sales would total 9.1 billion crowns this year, with an EBITA of 3.5 billion crowns.

The Swedish company reported a third-quarter EBITA of 933 million crowns, up from 536 million a year earlier, and above the 902 million seen in a poll of analysts. ($1 = 9.1619 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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