Amgen Inc., the world’s largest biotechnology company, reported first-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as sales increased of its drugs to treat infections in cancer patients.
Net income rose to $1.18 billion, or $1.48 a share, from $1.13 billion, or $1.20, a year earlier, the Thousand Oaks, California-based company said in a statement today. Earnings, excluding one-time items, of $1.61 a share bested by 15 cents the average estimates of 22 analysts compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue jumped 9.2 percent to $4.05 billion.
Amgen is seeking to shore up revenue as its former core anemia franchise declines. In the past few months, the company has acquired Micromet Inc. for $1.16 billion to add an experimental leukemia drug, signed a development deal with London-based AstraZeneca Plc and boosted its presence in the cancer market through sales of Xgeva, a bone drug that reduces fractures. Amgen will get a new chief executive officer next month, when President Robert Bradway takes over for retiring CEO Kevin Sharer. Amgen has also repurchased shares and issued dividends.
“This is what the new management is preparing and looking to come out of the gates showing,” Michael Yee, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets Corp. in San Francisco said in an e-mail. “Managing the core business, financial discipline, and ability to try to steer the ship in the right direction.”
Sales of Xgeva, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reduce fractures in cancer patients in November 2010, and Prolia, used to treat osteoporosis in menopausal women, were $241 million in the quarter, Amgen said. Analysts had estimated sales of $249.6 million.
Later this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to decide whether Amgen can market Xgeva to delay the spread of tumors to bones in patients with advanced prostate cancer. An advisory panel to the regulatory body voted 12-1 against the expanded use in February, saying the risks of the drug outweighed its benefits. The agency doesn’t have to follow the panel’s recommendation.
Amgen gained less than 1 percent to $68.63 at the close of New York trading before the earnings were announced. The company has gained 6.9 percent this year.