January 17, 2020 / 9:53 AM / a month ago

Sweden's Sobi beats earnings forecast as sales of premature baby drug surge

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Rare disease drug maker Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi) (SOBIV.ST) said on Friday its 2019 sales and core profit had topped its expectations, sending its shares higher.

Sobi said late on Thursday that performance was partly due to significantly higher sales of Synagis, a medicine used to help prevent serious lung diseases in premature babies caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

In older and healthy children and adults, symptoms of the very common RSV are mild.

Other contributors were new drug Gamifant, a treatment for childhood disease primary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), and Orfadin, a treatment for childhood disease hereditary tyrosinemia type 1.

Sobi said earnings before interest, tax, amortisation, restructuring costs and the impact of its acquisition of Dova Pharmaceuticals totaled 6.2 billion to 6.3 billion crowns ($653.4 million to 663.9 million) last year.

That beat its forecast from October for adjusted EBITA of 5.3 billion to 5.5 billion crowns. Revenue of 14.15 billion to 14.25 billion also beat a forecast for 13 billion to 13.5 billion.

Shares in the maker of haemophilia, inflammation and genetic and metabolic disease drugs, which had already rallied 13% in the past two days, were up 9% at 0857 GMT. Over the past 12 months shares are however still down, by 16%.

Analysts at Carnegie said they would probably make little change to estimates for 2020 on the back of Friday’s news.

“The main drivers of the positive profit warning appear to be isolated to Q4 and should have less pronounced impact on the expected performance in 2020 and beyond,” they said in a note.

The rival to Roche, Novo Nordisk and Shire is due to release final full-year results on Feb. 13.

Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom and Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Jason Neely and Jan Harvey

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