Actelion Ltd. (ATLN), the Swiss maker of the Tracleer blood-pressure drug, climbed the most in two weeks after the company raised its profit forecast for 2012 on reduced spending and second-quarter revenue that beat estimates.
The shares advanced as much as 3 percent to 42.50 Swiss francs, the biggest intraday gain since July 5, and were up 2.7 percent at 42.36 francs as of 9:29 a.m. in Zurich.
Core earnings, or sales minus cash operating expenses and excluding currency effects, will rise in a “mid single-digit” percentage range, Allschwil-based Actelion said in a statement today. The drugmaker had expected earnings to remain unchanged from 2011 figures. The company reiterated that sales will probably fall by a low single-digit percentage.
Actelion is betting on its successor to Tracleer, macitentan, to revive sales when the older drug loses patent protection in 2015. The company said in April that macitentan succeeded in a late-stage study, fueling speculation that Actelion may become a takeover target. Actelion is cutting research costs, and outlined plans on July 12 to scale back the workforce by 5.3 percent.
“In the first half of 2012 we have taken decisive action to ensure that the company is able to take full advantage of the growth opportunity we have created with macitentan,” Chief Executive Officer Jean-Paul Clozel said in the statement. “I am very pleased, that our efforts to control costs are already having an impact on profitability.”
Second-quarter product sales rose 1.3 percent to 445.9 million Swiss francs ($456 million) from 440 million francs a year earlier, Actelion said. Analysts were predicting revenue would decline to 434.8 million francs, the average of 10 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Through yesterday, Actelion had gained 25 percent in Zurich trading, including reinvested dividends, since announcing results of the macitentan trial, outpacing a 9.3 percent advance in the 18-company Bloomberg Europe Pharmaceuticals Index.
The company said it collected more than 100 million Swiss francs from southern European countries that owed it money, Spain in particular, Chief Financial Officer Andrew Oakley said in a telephone interview today.
First-half product sales declined 3.2 percent to 861.8 million francs, with revenue from Tracleer falling 4 percent to 752.4 million francs. The drug is losing market share to Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD)’s Letairis, and is under pricing pressure in Europe.
Tracleer and macitentan are designed to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, in which the arteries that move blood from the heart to the lungs narrow, making the heart work harder and causing elevated blood pressure.
It’s “a little premature” to quantify the savings that will come from the reorganization, Oakley said.
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