Regeneron Rises After Eye Drug Sales Beat Analyst Estimate

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. increased 14 percent after net sales for the company’s Eylea drug used to treat a blindness-causing eye disorder were more than four times what analysts estimated.

Regeneron rose to $74.44 at the close in New York, the company’s biggest one-day climb since April 27. The drug, used to treat wet age-related macular degeneration, produced $24 million to $25 million in sales from Nov. 21 to Dec. 31, the Tarrytown, New York-based company said yesterday. Regeneron said that 2012 sales from the medicine would reach $140 million to $160 million.

Eylea competes with Roche Holding AG’s Lucentis, the Basel, Switzerland-based drugmaker’s fifth biggest-selling medicine at 1.46 billion Swiss francs ($1.4 billion) in 2010. More than 10,000 Eylea doses have been distributed to doctors, Len Schleifer, Regeneron’s chief executive officer, said in an interview. The company said that included pent-up demand from difficult-to-treat patients, Christopher J. Raymond, an analyst at Robert W. Baird in Chicago, wrote in a note to investors.

“Backing out stocking, it’s still a big number,” Raymond wrote. Raymond raised his rating on Regeneron to “outperform” and increased his target price for the shares to $81.

Baird had estimated $2 million in Eylea sales, according to the note. Phil Nadeau, an analyst with Cowen & Co., had estimated the drug would generate $5 million in the fourth quarter.

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