Actelion May Raise Forecast After First-Quarter Earnings

Actelion Ltd. may raise its earnings forecast this year after the Swiss drugmaker reported first-quarter earnings advanced 12 percent on sales of its new Opsumit blood-pressure drug.

Core operating income rose to 189 million Swiss francs ($215 million), the Allschwil-based company said in a statement today. Sales climbed 8 percent to 469 million francs, beating the 439.8 million-franc average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

“Based on this good start to the year, Actelion will be well-positioned to review its guidance for core earnings growth by mid-year,” Chief Executive Officer Jean-Paul Clozel said in the statement.

Opsumit, a drug to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, got approval for sale in the U.S. last year. Peak sales of the drug will exceed those of Tracleer, the company’s existing treatment for the same illness, Actelion said Feb. 11. Actelion said at the time it expected core-earnings growth in the low single-digit percentage range at constant exchange rates.

Pulmonary arterial hypertension is an incurable disease in which the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs narrow, making the heart work harder and causing elevated blood pressure. That causes symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness and shortness of breath.