--Celgene expects to double net product sales between 2013 and 2017
--Company outlines numerous milestones in 2013 for three "potential blockbuster" drugs
--Two late-stage trials for experimental psoriasis drug apremilast meet primary goals
(Updates with analyst comment in paragraph 10, updated stock price in paragraph 15.)
By Joseph Walker
Celgene Corp. (CELG) detailed its strategy to achieve $12 billion in product sales by 2017, twice what it expects this year, as it expands its core hematology franchise and builds out new product lines in cancer and psoriasis.
"We absolutely believe that the best days of Celgene are in front of us," Chief Executive Robert Hugin said at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. "We have the opportunity to accelerate growth, build out these new franchises and have great results over the next five years."
Mr. Hugin said Celgene has three "potential blockbusters" that will face key milestones this year, including an application to the Food and Drug Administration for its Abraxane to treat pancreatic cancer, one of the hardest-to-treat cancers. The drug is already approved in other types of cancer.
The company also expects to seek regulatory approval in the second half of this year for its experimental drug apremilast to treat psoriasis, the severe skin rash disease. The drug met its primary goals in two late-stage studies, the company said Monday.
For 2012, the biopharmaceutical company said it now expects adjusted earnings of $4.90 a share and revenue of $5.5 billion, at the high end of its previous view of $4.85 to $4.90 a share and $5.45 billion to $5.55 billion, respectively.
Fourth-quarter and full-year results will be released Jan. 24.
The Summit, N.J., firm is a leader in treating blood cancer, and its hallmark drug Revlimid surpassed $1 billion in sales in the fourth quarter, the first time it has reached that mark in a single quarter, Mr. Hugin said. The company hopes to receive new approvals for Revlimid in the U.S., Europe and China this year.
The company's experimental drug Pomalyst could be the company's "next blockbuster," Mr. Hugin said, with a U.S. regulatory approval decision expected "in the next month or so" and in Europe by the end of 2013 to treat relapses of multiple myeloma.
For the new year, Celgene forecast adjusted earnings of $5.50 to $5.60 a share, in line with expectations of $5.56 from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. It also predicted product sales, which account for nearly all the company's revenue, of $6 billion. Analysts project total revenue of $6.05 billion.
"We believe Celgene is re-emerging as a clean, earnings-driven growth stock as Abraxane's potential in pancreatic cancer becomes more fully appreciated and Revlimid gets back on track with European regulators," said Eric Schmidt, a Cowen & Co. analyst. "We expect Celgene's stock multiple to expand as a result."
Celgene expects Revlimid sales in 2013 to range from $4.1 billion to $4.2 billion, up about 9% to 12% year over year.
The company also reaffirmed its long-term financial targets for 2015 and forecast $13 to $14 a share in adjusted earnings and $12 billion in product sales for 2017.
Like other big drug makers, Celgene has been striving to find new treatments, as well as expand the uses of older ones, to drive growth. The company has been trying to expand uses of its blood-cancer treatment Revlimid to new diseases such as newly diagnosed multiple myeloma as well as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
In October, the company said its third-quarter profit rose as it continued to see strong growth in Revlimid.
Celgene shares rose 4.4% to $85.73 on Monday. The stock is up 3.1% over the past three months.
-Ben Fox Rubin contributed to this article.
Write to Joseph Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org
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