It was all about earnings last week with several biotech companies reporting third quarter results. While it was a “beat and raise” quarter for quite a few companies, some companies narrowed their outlooks for the year.
Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories
1. Companies like Celgene (CELG – Analyst Report), Biogen (BIIB – Analyst Report), Alexion (ALXN – Analyst Report), Cubist (CBST – Analyst Report), Amgen (AMGN – Analyst Report) and Gilead all posted better-than-expected results. Celgene raised its earnings as well as revenue guidance for 2014 – the raised guidance should be easily achievable on the back of strong Revlimid sales (Read more: Celgene Beats Q3 Earnings Estimates on High Revlimid Sales).
Other major biotech companies that raised their outlook for 2014 include Alexion, which continues to see strong Soliris sales (Read more: Alexion Beats on Earnings & Revenues in Q3, Guides Up), Amgen (Read more: Amgen Beats on Q3 Earnings & Revenues, Ups View Again) as well as Biogen (Read more: Biogen’s Q3 Earnings Top Estimates, View Raised Again). Meanwhile, Vertex lowered its Kalydeco revenue guidance reflecting the impact of delayed reimbursement in Australia. Sales of Gilead’s hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment, Sovaldi, were slightly light due to the warehousing effect (patients and physicians postpone treatment as they await the launch of new and better treatment options).
2 . Amgen, which has been under pressure to split into two companies, provided a strategic update and its preliminary guidance for 2015. Amgen’s preliminary earnings guidance for 2015 surpassed expectations by a wide margin. The company expects to earn $9.05-$9.40 per share on revenues of $20.8-$21.3 billion. This is well above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of earnings of $8.89 per share and revenues of $20.2 billion.
Amgen is restructuring its operations which should lead to annual savings of up to $1.5 billion by 2018. The company also has more job cuts lined up in addition to the previously announced target of 2,900 job cuts. Meanwhile, biosimilars remain a target area for the company which expects to launch its first biosimilar in 2017. Share buybacks and higher dividends also remain a part of the company’s strategy.
3. Despite delivering a beat and raise quarter, Biogen’s shares were down on concerns regarding its oral multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment, Tecfidera. Third quarter sales of Tecfidera, which has been one of Biogen’s most successful product launches, lagged analyst estimates. Moreover, with Biogen’s CEO confirming a case of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) in a patient on Tecfidera, concerns regarding the product’s growth prospects have gone up (Read more: Biogen Falls on Concerns Regarding Tecfidera Sales and PML Case).
4. The Medicines Company’s (MDCO – Analyst Report) shares were up 16.5% on a favorable court ruling in the company’s patent infringement case against Mylan regarding Angiomax. Mylan is looking to bring its generic version of Angiomax to the market before patent expiry. However, with the court ruling in The Medicines Co.’s favor, Mylan cannot gain FDA approval for its generic version until the patent expires (2028) or it gets a favorable decision on appealing the court’s ruling (Read more: The Medicines Co.’s Angiomax Gets Favorable Court Ruling).
5. Sarepta’s (SRPT – Analyst Report) shares plunged 32.5% with the company announcing a delay in its plans for filing a new drug application (NDA) for its experimental Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) treatment, eteplirsen. The news came as a disappointment – the NDA was slated to be filed by year end but now the company expects to file the NDA by mid-15. Meanwhile, another company, Prosensa, has started filing the NDA for its experimental DMD treatment (Read more: Sarepta Slumps as Eteplirsen NDA Submission Gets Delayed).
Last week, Celgene was the biggest gainer among the major biotechs with share price increasing 11.3%. Biogen was the only major biotech to lose ground last week (down 2.67%) reflecting concerns regarding the growth prospects of its MS drug, Tecfidera.
Meanwhile, Vertex recorded the highest gain (76.83%) among major biotechs over the last six months.
Overall, it was a good week for the biotech sector with the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index gaining 5.63% (See the last biotech stock roundup here: AbbVie Calls off Shire Acquisition, Will Amgen Consider Breakup?).
Last 6 Months
What’s Next in the Biotech World?
Companies like AbbVie and Regeneron will be reporting third quarter results in the next few days.
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