Updated with new information.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. ( TheStreet) -- The commercial launch of Aegerion Pharmaceuticals' (AEGR) Juxtapid continues to outperform investor expectations and the company raised sales guidance for the remainder of the year.
Aegerion said Tuesday that 215 patients are currently taking Juxtapid, which puts the company well on its way towards meeting the goal of having 250-300 patients on drug before the end of the year.At the end of April, Aegerion reported 75 patients on Juxtapid therapy. Aegerion shares are trading higher by 9 percent to $84.26. The stock reached an all-time high of $97.46 earlier in the day. Juxtapid treats homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH), a rare genetic disease that causes extremely high and potentially fatal levels of cholesterol to build up in patients' blood. A year of Juxtapid therapy costs $295,000. Aegerion raised its Juxtapid sales forecast for 2013 to a range of $30-35 million from $15-25 million. The Street was already expecting Juxtapid sales of $31 million for the year, and that number is probably shooting higher in the coming days. In addition to the 215 patients on Juxtapid already, Aegerion said 463 prescriptions have been written for the drug to date. This means 463 patients total have started the process of getting on Juxtapid therapy, including obtaining insurance reimbursement. The company also said with six months of launch experience under its belt, the dropout rate from Juxtapid therapy is less than 10 percent and the compliance rate i.e. the percentage of patients who take their pill daily, is 80-90 percent. "Aegerion's guidance is funny because I can get them doing $30 million in the fourth quarter alone," said one investor who is long the stock. "I can't believe Marc can keep a straight face." "Marc" refers to Aegerion CEO Marc Beer, who this investor believes is sand-bagging the company's financial guidance in order to keep expectations reined in to a reasonable level. For the second quarter, Aegerion reported a net loss of 66 cents per share on total revenue of $6.5 million. Juxtapid competes against Kynamro, another drug for HoFH marketed by Sanofi (SNY) and Isis Pharmaceuticals (ISIS). -- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston. Follow @AdamFeuerstein
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