Regeneron’s Eylea Tops Fourth-Quarter Sales Estimates

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. reported fourth-quarter revenue of the eye drug Eylea, the company’s top-selling product, that beat analysts’ estimates. The shares rose the most in almost two years.

Sales were about $400 million last quarter, Chief Executive Officer Len Schleifer said today at the annual JPMorgan Chase & Co. health-care conference in San Francisco. The demand beat the $377.5 million average of eight analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The revenue announcement capped a busy conference for Regeneron, which said yesterday it has started a genetics venture, is planning to develop a next-generation eye drug that might be combined with Eylea and amended an agreement with Sanofi, its largest shareholder. Regeneron will collaborate with Geisinger Health System on the genetics project, which will parse data of more than 100,000 volunteers in an attempt to identify the underlying causes of disease.

“We think the time is right to do this,” Schleifer said of the genetics venture in an interview in San Francisco.

Regeneron also said it will work with Bayer AG, its partner on Eylea, to develop a new drug for wet age-related macular degeneration, one of the most common causes of blindness in the elderly. Studies in humans are planned to start early this year.

Regeneron amended its agreement with Sanofi, which owns a stake of about 16 percent in the Tarrytown, New York-based company. Paris-based Sanofi will retain its right to acquire as much as 30 percent of Regeneron’s stock and gets the option to nominate a director to its board if the stake increases to at least 20 percent.

Regeneron gained 12 percent to $300.32 at the close in New York, the biggest one-day jump since Feb. 13, 2012. The shares have increased 67 percent in the past 12 months.

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