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Biotech Preview: Genzyme, Biogen, Amgen, Celgene

Here's an overview of the outlooks offered at last week's JPMorgan confab and a look at what's to come.

Despite regulatory hold-ups, reimbursement and labeling issues, some troubled drug sales and a company sale that never happened in 2007, a few big biotech stocks maintain bullish outlooks for fourth-quarter and year-end results, as well as the year ahead.




Biogen Idec

(BIIB) - Get Biogen Inc. Report



(AMGN) - Get Amgen Inc. Report



(CELG) - Get Celgene Corporation Report

each preannounced fourth-quarter and annual results in conjunction with last week's JPMorgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. They guided ahead optimistically. Meanwhile,



will share its numbers post-close today and

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(GILD) - Get Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD) Report

will announce later in January.

Here's a look at what investors saw and expect to see from these companies.

Genentech -- Jan. 14

Genentech kicks off its earnings Monday after market close. Wall Street is looking for adjusted earnings of $720 million, or 68 cents a share, on revenue of $2.9 billion for the fourth quarter. For the year, analysts are seeking $3.1 billion, or $2.92 a share, on revenue of $11.7 billion.

The consensus for fourth-quarter sales includes $603 million from Rituxan, $332 million for Herceptin, $616 million for Avastin, $111 million from Tarceva and $169 million from Lucentis. For the year, analysts are looking for revenue of $11.7 billion, including $2.29 billion from Rituxan, $1.29 billion from Herceptin sales, $2.3 billion from Avastin, $416 million from Tarceva and $817 million from Lucentis.

Genentech in December suffered a negative recommendation from a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel for its Avastin as a treatment for metastatic breast cancer. But the South San Francisco-based company is set to report late-stage data from the Avado trial in the first half of this year and from the Ribbon-1 trial in the second half of the year, which could potentially improve Avastin growth in metastatic breast cancer treatment for 2008, according to Rodman & Renshaw analyst Michael King Jr.

Genentech shares could be influenced by interim, two-year data (three-year disease-free survival data are due in 2009) for Avastin in colorectal cancer sometime during the second half of 2008, according to King. However, he expects the stock will be range-bound until the company releases data from the colorectal cancer and ovarian cancer trials in 2009, in addition to the breast cancer indication.

Amgen -- Jan. 24

Amgen said last week that it expects 2007 earnings in the low end of a $4.30 to $4.50 per-share range, compared with prior expectations of $4.13 to $4.23 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial are looking for $4.25 a share on revenue of $14.57 billion for the year.

The Thomson Financial consensus target for the fourth quarter is 97 cents a share, on revenue of $3.55 billion. For 2008, analysts are looking for $4.38 a share on revenue of $14.48 billion.

The troubled company, which has seen a reduction of $17 billion in market cap since May as it suffered labeling and reimbursement changes for its chemotherapy-induced anemia drugs, said it's on track to deliver cost savings from a restructuring that included a 13% reduction in headcount. Amgen has another FDA advisory panel coming up in March regarding its chemotherapy-induced anemia drugs.

Celgene -- Jan. 31

Celgene gave updated guidance on Jan. 7, looking for its lead product, Revlimid for multiple myeloma, to garner sales between $240 million and $245 million, surpassing the Street consensus of $235 million. And according to

senior columnist Adam Feuerstein, the company has indicated that sales are likely to be at the upper end of this range.

Celgene anticipates earning $1.05 a share on revenue of $1.4 billion in 2007, which is in line with analysts' expectations. The company's current 2008 guidance doesn't include the



acquisition, which it expects will close in April. Sans the Pharmion deal, it anticipates earning $1.50 to $1.55 a share, on revenue o f$1.8 billion, including expected Revlimid sales of $1.25 billion in 2008.

Factoring in the Pharmion acquisition, Lazard analyst Matthew Osborne is looking for $1.38 a share on revenue of $2.1 billion, including a Street-high view of Revlimid sales at $1.32 billion.

Celgene is also expected to give updated midstage data on its Aprelamist for psoriasis in the first week of February.

Gilead -- Jan. 31

Credit Suisse analyst Michael Aberman upgraded Gilead Sciences last week to outperform from neutral, raising his price target to $54 from $45, in light of better-than-expected sales of the company's HIV drug Atripla, which the company is set to launch in Europe this quarter.

Atripla contributed $241 million to third-quarter HIV product sales, and about one-fourth of HIV patients in the U.S. were on Atripla therapy within a year of its launch, according to a Rodman & Renshaw report.

In addition to the positive Atripla outlook, Credit Suisse's Aberman also noted that Gilead's Letairis for pulmonary arterial hypertension is set to meet high expectations.

Analysts are looking for earnings of 40 cents a share for the quarter, or 44 cents a share on an adjusted basis, on revenue of $1.09 billion. They're expecting $1.66 a share for the year, on revenue of $4.22.

The 2008 consensus is for $1.88 a share on revenue of $5.03 billion.

Genzyme -- Feb. 13

Genzyme surprised investors at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference last week with a team-up with

Isis Pharmaceuticals


worth up to $1.9 billion for its cholesterol drug Mipomersen, and dished bullish earnings as well.

The company said revenue increased 20% to $3.8 billion from $3.2 billion in the prior year, while analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for $3.77 billion.

Quarterly revenue increased 21% to $1.04 billion vs. $854 million in the comparable year-ago period. The Street expected $989 million.

Sales of Genzyme's Renegal for patients with chronic kidney disease came in 23% higher than a year ago at $167 million for the quarter, beating Street estimates of $148 million to $165 million. Sales of Gaucher's disease treatment Cerezyme also beat consensus targets, pulling in $301 million in the quarter. Coming in at the top end of estimates, Fabry disease treatment Fabrazyme and Pompe disease treatment Myozyme generated sales of $114 million and $62 million, respectively.

The company is predicting earnings of $4 a share in 2008, in line with the Thomson Financial consensus target of $4 a share on revenue of $4.26 billion.

Biogen Idec -- First Half of February

Biogen Idec, which earlier in the quarter said it would go it alone after failing to find a buyer, announced last week that it now expects that 2007 earnings per share will come in at the top end of its previously announced guidance range of $2.60 to $2.70, which represents 16% to 20% annual growth. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for $2.62 a share.

JP Morgan analyst Geoffrey Meacham remarked in a note to investors that the raised full-year guidance implies fourth-quarter earnings in excess of 84 cents a share, well above the consensus estimate of 76 cents a share.

For 2008, Biogen said it anticipated adjusted earnings in the range of $3.20 to $3.35, while the consensus target was $3.20 a share.

More good news: In addition to raised guidance, Biogen Idec and partner



provided an update on Tysabri, announcing a reacceleration of the multiple sclerosis drug's uptake. There are now 21,000 patients on Tysabri, with 338 new patients per week worldwide in the recent 13-week period, compared with 282 per week in the prior period. The companies also said there were no cases of PML, a dangerous brain disease.

"We expect strength in Biogen shares as the Street once again underestimated Biogen's fundamentals, and remain Overweight on low expectations and in anticipation that Street numbers will have to continue to rise," Meacham said in the report.

The FDA was slated to make a decision on Tysabri for Crohn's disease by Jan. 13. And the company is expected to have data from mid-to-late stage studies on Rituxan for multiple indications, mid-stage trial data for Adentri in heart failure, and early stage data for Factor IX in hemophilia B in the first half of 2008.