April 24 (Reuters) - Amgen Inc on Tuesday reported a higher first quarter profit, driven by lower taxes and a 3 percent increase in product sales as strong growth for newer drugs like cholesterol medication Repatha offset weakness in older products.
The biotech company slightly raised the lower end of its full-year financial outlook, and said its adjusted tax rate would be 13.5 percent to 14.5 percent, or half a point less than previously expected.
Amgen posted first quarter adjusted earnings of $3.47 per share, helped by lower taxes and fewer outstanding shares. Analysts on average expected $3.23 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
First-quarter revenue rose 2 percent to $5.55 billion, with sales up 3 percent to $5.34 billion.
Sales of anti-inflammatory drug Enbrel, faced with more competition in the rheumatology and dermatology sectors, fell 6 percent to $1.05 billion, below Wall Street estimates of $1.09 billion. Sales of Repatha more than doubled to $123 million, beating the average analyst estimate of $104 million.
For the full year, Amgen said it now expects adjusted EPS of $12.80 to $13.70, compared with $12.60 to $13.70 previously. It raised the lower end of 2018 revenue guidance to $21.9 billion from $21.8 billion and left the upper end unchanged at $22.8 billion. (Reporting by Deena Beasley; Editing by Sandra Maler)