(Corrects headline, bullet and paragraph one to say Dupixent is
an "eczema", not "allergy" drug)
* Co backs Eylea full-year sales growth forecast
* Eylea Q1 sales miss estimates by less than feared
* Launch of eczema drug Dupixent going well - CEO
* Shares rise nearly 6 pct, up for 5th day in a row
By Natalie Grover and Divya Grover
May 4 Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc
stood by its full-year sales forecast for its flagship drug
Eylea and said the early adoption of its eczema drug Dupixent
was encouraging, easing concerns about the company's reliance on
Eylea as competition heats up.
Regeneron's shares jumped nearly 6 percent to $430.93 on
Thursday, rising for the fifth day in a row to touch levels last
seen in November.
Eylea, used to treat macular degeneration and other eye
disorders, has powered much of the company's growth since late
2011 and accounts for nearly 70 percent of total revenue.
However, the drug's sales growth has slowed in recent
quarters, mainly due to competition from Roche'
U.S. sales of Eylea rose 9 percent to $854 million in the
first quarter – in line with Regeneron's expectations of
single-digit growth this year and about $4 million shy of
However, after Roche reported strong Lucentis sales,
investors were expecting Eylea to fare much worse, with some
expecting sales as low as $800 million, Cowen and Company
The company backed its expectations that Eylea sales would
increase in the single-digit percent range this year from $3.32
billion last year.
Regeneron is betting on two key treatments – Dupixent to
treat eczema and sarilumab to treat rheumatoid arthritis – to
diversify its revenue stream.
Dupixent was approved in late March and about 3,500
prescriptions have been written so far, Chief Executive Leonard
Schleifer said on a post-earnings call.
Two of the largest U.S. pharmacy benefits managers have
agreed to cover Dupixent and the drug is well positioned to
secure broad coverage by the end of the year, executives said.
Dupixent costs about $37,000 and is expected to generate
peak annual sales of more than $4 billion.
Regeneron also said it expects the FDA to approve the
arthritis drug, sarilumab, by May 22, and is gearing up for a
Sales of Regeneron's cholesterol fighter Praluent were $36
million in the first quarter, well short of estimates of $62
million, which the company blamed on an ongoing lawsuit.
However, total revenue rose nearly 10 percent to $1.32
billion, edging analysts' estimate of $1.30 billion, due to
strong collaboration revenue from partners Sanofi and
Net income jumped 37.2 percent to $248.9 million. But, its
adjusted profit of $2.92 per share missed analysts' estimate of
$3.06, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, due to a
bigger-than-expected tax bill.
(Reporting by Natalie Grover and Divya Grover in Bengaluru;
Editing by Savio D'Souza)