Amgen has boosted its 2012 revenue and earnings forecasts after posting a double-digit sales increase in the third quarter driven by arthritis drug Enbrel.
Operating income came in at $1.7bn in the quarter, a rise of 14 per cent and topping analyst estimates, while revenues climbed 10 per cent to $4.32bn, giving new chief executive Robert Bradway a great start in his first full-quarter at the helm.
"Our business has very good momentum, and we're executing on our strategy to grow the business and deliver for patients and shareholders," said Bradway on a conference call to discuss the figures.
Amgen's biggest product franchise - the white cell stimulators Neulasta (pegfilgrastim) and Neupogen (filgrastim) - held up well despite their advancing years and recording $1.34bn in third-quarter sales thanks to direct-to-consumer (DTC) and caregiver advertising.
Among Amgen's growth products, sales of Enbrel (etanercept) grew 17 per cent to $1.08bn while Xgeva (denosumab) for bone fracture prevention climbed 12 per cent to $201m.
Hyperparathyroidism drug Sensipar/Mimpara (cinacalcet) had a good quarter, up 18 per cent to $243m, while colorectal cancer drug Vectibix (panitumumab) rose 11 per cent to $88m. Nplate (romiplostim) for the treatment of chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura climbed 18 per cent to $91m.
On the downside, Amgen's red blood cell stimulator Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa) fell 17 per cent to $497m as a result of changing practice patterns, competition in oncology and safety issues.
However, Amgen's older drug in this category – Epogen (epoetin alfa) – managed a 3 per cent gain to $491m thanks to lower-than-expected competition and resistance by dialysis providers to switch to newer drugs such as Takeda/Affymax' Omontys (peginasetide), which was approved in the US earlier this year.
"We now expect full year revenues to fall between $17.2bn and $17.3bn," said chief financial officer Jonathon Peacock, adding that earnings per share (EPS) will be in the $6.50-$6.60 range.
Amgen was previously predicting revenues of $16.9-$17.2bn in revenues and EPS of $6.20-$6.35.
Looking to 2013, Amgen expects R&D costs to rise as it ramps up phase III trials for romosozumab, a monoclonal antibody for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis, and starts preparing for pivotal trials of cholesterol-lowering therapy AMG 145.