BeiGene warns of hit to sales and clinical trials from coronavirus outbreak

FILE PHOTO: People enter a building of biotechnology firm BeiGene Ltd at the Suzhou Industrial Park in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China November 22, 2019. Picture taken November 22, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

(Reuters) - China-based drugmaker BeiGene Ltd 6160.HKBGNE.O said on Monday it expects the coronavirus outbreak to impact its operations in China, including sales and clinical trials, particularly in the first quarter.

The company joins U.S. drugmakers Merck & Co Inc MRK.N and Pfizer Inc PFE.N, which also warned that the continued spread of the virus globally could adversely impact their financial results and clinical trials.

BeiGene, which in November won the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval for its lymphoma treatment Brukinsa, said it expects to launch another cancer drug tislelizumab in first quarter, despite the negative impact from the virus outbreak.

“While we expect our broad business operations in China to be impacted by COVID-19, we continue to execute towards our tislelizumab launch goal in the first quarter this year,” BeiGene’s President Xiaobin Wu said.

The company on Monday also reported a drop in fourth quarter revenue to $56.9 million from $58.7 million, a year ago.

BeiGene said the impact from the outbreak could possibly be longer depending on the scope and duration of the disruption, adding that it is working to minimize delays and disruptions.

Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber