Celgene lifts outlook on higher Revlimid sales in second quarter

Celgene reported Thursday that net income for the second quarter rose to $598.2 million, compared with $356.2 million in the prior-year period. Quarterly sales climbed 22 percent to $2.7 billion, while Revlimid met forecast estimates, generating 18-percent higher revenue at $1.7 billion, which the company attributed to "new patient market-share gains and increased duration."

Earlier this week, Celgene abandoned plans to pursue approval of Revlimid as a maintenance treatment for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, saying that while the drug achieved the primary endpoint of progression-free survival in the Phase III REMARC study, an interim analysis showed it failed the key secondary goal of significantly extending overall survival. Still, the company expressed confidence that the drug, which was recently expanded in Europe to include adults with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma, would prove useful in other indications and settings. "Lymphoma will be a major growth driver in 2020 and beyond," said Michael Pehl, head of haematology and oncology at Celgene (for related analysis, see ViewPoints: Celgene's road to 2020 guidance just got trickier).

In other quarterly results, the company said combined Pomalyst/Imnovid sales rose by 35.5 percent to $318 million, besting forecasts of $302 million, while revenue from Abraxane improved by 2 percent to $249 million, topping projections of $245million. Meanwhile, Otezla sales were in line with expectations at $242 million, representing a 170-percent increase year-over-year, with chief operating officer Jackie Fouse noting the drug "is on its way to hitting the $1-billion revenue milestone this year." 

For 2016, Celgene said it now anticipates total product sales will be approximately $11 billion, compared with a previous forecast ranging from $10.8 billion to $11 billion, with Revlimid now projected to generate roughly $6.8 billion, instead of the $6.7 billion estimated previously. 

Commenting on the news, RBC Capital Markets analyst Michael Yee stated that Celgene "continues to execute and outperform," describing it as a standout among large biotechnology companies. CEO Mark Alles said "our first-half 2016 operating results were outstanding and we are pleased with the progress made advancing many key corporate objectives." He added that "this strong momentum increases our confidence in our near- and longer-term outlook as we continue to invest in innovative research and the development of transformational therapies."

Meanwhile, Celgene also identified the experimental Crohn's disease drug GED-0301 as a driver of future growth, with top-line data from the 12-week portion of the CD-001 trial expected in the second half of this year. "If that data looks good, we think that could be a big catalyst for the stock," said Yee, who estimated that the treatment could amass $2 billion a year in annual revenue. 

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