Regeneron Earnings Top Estimates as Drug Sales Rise

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Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., the maker of the eye treatment Eylea, reported first-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates as sales surged.

Earnings excluding one-time items were $2.88 a share, while analysts had predicted $2.68 on average, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue increased 39 percent to $870 million, the Tarrytown, New York-based company said Thursday in a statement. Analysts had predicted $824 million.

U.S. sales of Eylea, Regeneron’s top drug, rose 51 percent to $541 million. Eylea accounts for more than 60 percent of the company’s revenue, and much of the rest comes from collaboration payments. Regeneron raised its full-year forecast for U.S. Eylea sales, saying the figure will gain 30 percent to 35 percent, compared with a previous prediction of 25 percent to 30 percent.

Investors are looking ahead to the approval and launch of Regeneron’s new cholesterol drug Praluent. The treatment is being co-developed with Paris-based Sanofi and is scheduled to come to market in the third quarter, Regeneron said on a conference call with analysts Thursday.

The two drugmakers will share costs and profits of Praluent, which is expected to be a blockbuster used by patients whose level of bad cholesterol can’t be lowered sufficiently with available medicine. It will compete with Amgen Inc.’s Repatha, which is also expected to be approved this year.

Regeneron shares fell 0.3 percent to $468.62 at the close in New York. They’ve gained 14 percent this year, compared with a 13 percent increase in the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index.

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