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Regeneron Rises on Forecast for Eye Drug Sales: New York Mover

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. rose to its highest price ever after the company increased its sales forecast for the eye drug Eylea more than analysts estimated.

Regeneron gained 12 percent to $114.65 at 4 p.m. New York time, the highest closing price since the shares began trading in April 1991, according to Bloomberg data. Eylea, which treats a blindness-causing eye disorder, may generate $250 million to $300 million in U.S. sales this year, compared with a previous outlook of as much as $160 million, the Tarrytown, New York-based company said in a statement today.

Eylea reached the market in November, and the company raised the forecast after getting more sales data, Chief Executive Officer Leonard Schleifer said on a conference call today on fourth-quarter results. The drug had been expected to generate $173 million in 2012, according to the average of five analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“The launch continues to go extraordinarily well and exceeds our expectations,” Schleifer said. With only 12 weeks of sales data, the outlook may change, he said.

Eylea had $25 million in sales in the fourth quarter, the company said today. The medicine treats wet age-related macular degeneration.

Regeneron’s medicine competes with Roche Holding AG’s Lucentis, which was the Basel, Switzerland-based drugmaker’s fourth-best-selling drug last year, with $1.72 billion in revenue.

The new forecast might still be “quite conservative,” Joshua Schimmer, an analyst with Leerink Swann & Co. in New York, said in a note to clients. “Investors who see Regeneron as an ‘expensive’ stock on a multiple basis may no longer feel that way once Street consensus finishes moving upward.”

Regeneron reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $53.4 million, or 58 cents per share, on $123 million in revenue.

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