October 23, 2014 / 1:00 PM / 5 years ago

Celgene profit jumps 37 percent; set to move Crohn's drug forward

(Reuters) - Celgene Corp (CELG.O) on Thursday reported third-quarter profit rose 37 percent on a double-digit rise in sales of its flagship multiple myeloma drug Revlimid, and the U.S. biotechnology company expressed great confidence in a closely-watched treatment for Crohn’s disease it recently acquired.

Celgene shares jumped 5 percent after the company said it was finalizing plans to move the Crohn’s drug, GED-301, into Phase III trials following a presentation at a medical meeting this week of midstage data that showed high and durable remission rates.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Michael Yee called the data “strikingly positive” and said the company’s comments gave investors a lot of confidence in the drug.

“It could be a multibillion-dollar opportunity,” he said.

Celgene also raised its full-year adjusted earnings forecast by five cents and now expects $3.65 to $3.70 per share. It also now sees 2014 revenue exceeding its previous forecast of $7.60 billion.

Revlimid sales increased 19 percent to $1.3 billion as patients were using the medicine for a longer duration. Analysts were looking for sales of $1.26 billion.

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration decision is expected in February on whether Revlimid can be used as an initial therapy rather than after a prior treatment has failed, which would boost sales. A similar decision pending in Europe is expected in the first half of next year, Celgene said.

The company also plans to present data in December with an eye toward significantly increasing the number of patients eligible to receive Revlimid for the blood disorder myelodysplastic syndromes.

Celgene said net profit rose to $508 million, or 61 cents per share, from $372 million, or 43 cents per share on a stock split adjusted basis, a year ago.

Excluding one-time items, Celgene earned 97 cents a share, exceeding the average analysts’ estimate by 2 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue totaled $1.98 billion, versus the Wall Street estimate of $1.96 billion.

Sales of Abraxane for breast, lung and pancreatic cancer of $212 million fell short of analysts’ estimates of $232 million. Celgene said U.S. sales were hurt by competition in breast cancer, but expects pancreatic sales to rise in Europe as the launch there accelerates.

The company expects full-year Revlimid sales to slightly exceed $4.95 billion and Abraxane sales to reach $850 million.

Celgene’s newer multiple myeloma drug Pomalyst had sales of $181 million for the quarter, topping Wall Street estimates of $176 million.

“Revlimid and Pomalyst were particularly strong,” Cowen and Co analyst Eric Schmidt said.

Psoriatic arthritis drug Otezla had sales of just $18 million in its first full quarter. A September U.S. approval of Otezla for the skin condition psoriasis, which has a far larger patient population than the related arthritic condition, should help jumpstart sales of the new medicine.

Celgene shares rose $5.00, or 5.2 percent, to $98.73 on Nasdaq.

Reporting by Bill Berkrot in New York; Editing by W Simon, Chizu Nomiyama, Jeffrey Benkoe and Andrew Hay

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