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Xarelto leads the charge at Bayer

Impressive sales for the oral anticoagulant bolsters weaker crop science and animal health performance
Bayer

Bayer has posted a strong set of results for the second quarter and raised its earnings forecasts for 2016, but had little to say about its proposed acquisition of Monsanto.

The German chemical and life sciences group posted an overall sales decline of 1.4% to €11.83bn, with a gains for its pharma and consumer health divisions offsetting a weaker performance in crop science and animal health, while net income grew almost 16% to €2.89bn.

On the topic of its proposed (and spurned) €63.5bn offer for Monsanto – aimed at creating a crop science giant – new chief executive Werner Baumann limited himself to confirming that private discussions are still ongoing. Critics of the proposed merger have suggested Bayer's bid is over-priced and raised concerns that it may divert attention from the critical pharma division.

Pharma sales grew 8% to €4.1bn, thanks to 30% increase in sales of novel oral anticoagulant Xarelto (rivaroxaban) to €703m – well ahead of expectations. There were also gains for Eylea (aflibercept) for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) as well as prostate cancer drug Xofigo (radium Ra 223 dichloride) and Adempas (riociguat) for pulmonary artery hypertension.

Colorectal cancer and gastrointestinal stromal rumour (GIST) therapy Stivarga (regorafenib) disappointed however, with sales down 25% thanks to increased competition in the US, although Bayer is hoping to reinvigorate the product with an expansion into liver cancer.

Initial results from a phase III trial showed that regorafenib significantly improves overall survival in patients with unresectable liver cancer, and this data will form the basis of a marketing application before the end of 2016.

The company said these drugs are expected to contribute €5.5bn in sales for 2016 as a whole, with Xarelto and Eylea expected to post growth rates of at least 30% for the full year.

Overall, Bayer says it is expecting higher rates of sales and earnings growth for 2016 in pharma thanks to what it describes as a “strong dynamic” in the first six months of the year, and expects division to post sales of more than €16bn for the full-year. Group sales are predicted to be a little weaker than expected at €46bn to €47bn.

Investors asked Bayer to update on growth forecasts for pharma – particularly in light of some pipeline disappointments earlier this year involving pipeline drugs finerenone, vericiguat and molidustat as the company embarks on its last few years of patent protection for Xarelto.

Baumann said the company was not able to update guidance at present but would provide more insights at the group's management briefing on 20 September.

Article by
Phil Taylor

28th July 2016

From: Sales

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