October 25, 2017 / 6:58 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Sobi to scale up in North America as Q3 beats expectations

(Adds detail, background)

Oct 25 (Reuters) - Rare-disease drug maker Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi) reported on Wednesday a bigger jump than expected in quarterly core profit, raised its profit and sales guidance, and said it planned to boost operations in North America.

* Sobi makes haemophilia, inflammation and genetic and metabolic disease drugs, with roughly half of sales in Europe

* Guido Oelkers, who joined Sobi as new CEO in May, unveiled in July the company was in the midst of a strategic review

* Laying out the results of the review, Oelkers said on Wednesday: “Our growth strategy has been designed to capitalise on the substantial potential in Haemophilia. Based on this solid platform we will further balance the business with a broader Specialty Care portfolio to ensure a sustainable company in both the short and long-term”

* “Furthermore, we are rebalancing our geographical footprint in our existing markets by, among other things, scaling and developing our North American franchise,” he said

* He added that strengthening Sobi’s late-stage R&D pipeline is another key area of focus going forward

* Q3 operating profit before amortisation (EBITA) up 90 pct YR/YR to 536 mln SEK ($65.2 mln) vs Reuters’ analyst poll mean forecast of 509 mln, helped by strong growth across the portfolio, for new haemophilia drugs in particular

* Q3 sales of key haemophilia drugs Elocta and Alprolix, which were launched 2016 and are sold by partner Biogen, were 417 mln and 98 mln SEK, respectively

* Sobi raised its F/Y guidance ranges for EBITA and sales to 1.90-2.00 bln SEK and 6.30-6.40 bln, respectively. Its previous guidance, given in July, had been for EBITA of 1.70-1.80 bln on sales of 6.10-6.20 bln

* It repeated F/Y guidance for a ‍gross margin around 70 pct

* Shares in Sobi, whose rivals include Roche, Novo Nordisk and Shire, were up 10 pct YTD at Tuesday’s close

* Sobi said in a separate statement Alprolix had received approval in Saudi Arabia

$1 = 8.2190 Swedish crowns Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: Reporting by Anna Ringstrom, editing by Terje Solsvik

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