Regeneron First-Quarter Profit Tops Estimates on Eylea

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., maker of the eye medicine Eylea, reported first-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates and increased its U.S. sales forecast for the drug. The shares rose.

Earnings excluding items such as share-based compensation expenses were $1.78 a share, the Tarrytown, New York-based company said in a statement today. Analysts anticipated $1.46, according to the average of 13 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Eylea may generate $1.25 billion to $1.33 billion in the U.S. this year, from a previous outlook of $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion, the company said. The drug received U.S. approval in November 2011 for wet age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the elderly, and began to be sold in the European Union and Japan in the fourth quarter. The medicine, now approved in the U.S. for a second indication, accounts for the majority of Regeneron’s sales.

“Both U.S. and EU Eylea sales were ahead of consensus,” Adnan Butt, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a research note today. “We like Regeneron for the blockbuster potential of Eylea and the deep pipeline.”

Regeneron rose 7.1 percent to $266.16 at the close in New York, its highest price since the company’s shares began trading in 1991. Regeneron has increased 56 percent this year.

Bayer AG, based in Leverkusen, Germany, partners with Regeneron to market the drug outside the U.S.