Bayer's Q3 sales of prescription drugs rise 7.3 percent, led by recently launched products

Bayer said Wednesday that third-quarter sales of prescription medicines climbed 7.3 percent year-over-year to 4.2 billion euros ($4.6 billion), boosted by the performance of recently launched products. The company noted that combined revenue from Adempas, Eylea, Stivarga, Xarelto and Xofigo reached 1.4 billion euros ($1.5 billion), representing growth of 28.3 percent on a constant currency basis.

Last month, Bayer announced that it is targeting combined peak annual sales from the five recently launched drugs of more than 10 billion euros ($10.9 billion), up from a prior estimate of at least 7.5 billion euros ($8.2 billion). The company indicated that it also expects to achieve average annual sales growth in its prescription medicines business of approximately 6 percent by the end of 2018.

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In the quarter, sales of Xarelto surged 35.2 percent to 772 million euros ($843 million), due mainly to increased volumes in Europe and Japan, as well as "encouraging gains" in the US, where it is marketed by Johnson & Johnson. Meanwhile, revenue from Eylea climbed 27.8 percent to 409 million euros ($447 million), which Bayer explained was "due particularly to good business performance in Europe and Canada."

Overall sales in the quarter lifted 2.3 percent to 11.3 billion euros ($12.3 billion), while net income jumped 18.8 percent to 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion), topping analyst estimates of 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion). Meanwhile, revenue in the consumer health division was flat at 1.4 billion euros ($1.5 billion). Bayer noted that brands gained through its purchase of Merck & Co.'s over-the-counter medicines in 2014 were a drag on the consumer health business. Berenberg Bank analyst Alistair Campbell remarked the unit's performance "underlines how disappointing the Merck over-the-counter integration has been."

For the full year, Bayer indicated that it still expects sales of prescription drugs to be above 16 billion euros ($17.5 billion), representing high-single-digit percentage growth. Overall sales are still expected to be in the range of 46 billion euros ($50.2 billion) to 47 billion euros ($51.3 billion), corresponding to a low-single-digit percentage increase. Bayer also said that core earnings per share will likely rise this year by a high single-digit percentage, up from an earlier forecast of a mid- to high-single-digit percentage.

Commenting on the results, Goldman Sachs said "we consider this a decent quarter, with the upgrade to 2016 guidance reflecting the underlying momentum in the pharma business."

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