Celgene Raises Guidance as Sales of Top Drug Revlimid Grow

  • 2016 adjusted earnings will be $5.70 to $5.75 a share
  • Blood cancer pill’s sales grow by 18 percent from year before

Celgene Corp. raised its full-year guidance after the drugmaker’s second-quarter profit beat analysts’ estimates on higher sales of Revlimid, a pill for blood cancer.

Second-quarter earnings, excluding one-time items, totaled $1.44 a share, Summit, New Jersey-based Celgene said Thursday in a statement. That topped the $1.39 average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Shares rose 2.9 percent to $111.26 at the close in New York.

Adjusted earnings for the full year will be $5.70 to $5.75 a share, up from the company’s April forecast of $5.60 to $5.70.

Celgene’s success has been built around Revlimid, and last year the drug accounted for 63 percent of revenue. As it keep trying to expand sales of the drug, the company is attempting to diversify its business as part of a goal of more than doubling sales by 2020.

Second-quarter sales of Revlimid rose 18 percent from a year before to $1.7 billion, beatings estimates of $1.68 billion, as the company said it gained market share and patients stayed on the drug longer. Celgene said it expects about $6.8 billion in sales from Revlimid this year, up $100 million from its previous forecast.

Revlimid is one of the most expensive cancer drugs in the world, Celgene’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Alles said last month. Its average wholesale price was about $644 per pill in the second quarter, up from $393 in the second quarter of 2008, according to data from Connecture Inc., a maker of price-comparison software. Patients starting the drug take one pill a day for three weeks a month, meaning the therapy costs about $162,000 a year at that price. They’re often on the drug indefinitely.

Celgene received a subpoena in December from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts asking for documents about its relationship with charities that offer financial help to patients, the company said in a filing Thursday. The drugmaker said it’s cooperating with the request.

More Uses

The company also is seeking to boost sales by expanding the drug’s use through more late-stage trials. On Monday, the the company said one of those tests, exploring Revlimid’s use in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, failed to lengthen life. It won’t pursue approval for that disease.

Other key second-quarter results:

  • Net income rose 68 percent to $598.2 million, or 75 cents a share, from $356.2 million, or 43 cents, a year earlier.
  • Pomalyst sales were $318 million, versus estimates of $302 million.
  • Abraxane sales were $249 million, versus estimates of $245 million.
  • Otezla sales were $242 million, versus estimates of $242 million.
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