Revenue Growth Brisk at Celgene

The company also reports better-than-expected earnings in the second quarter.
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Updated from 9:11 a.m. EDT


(CELG) - Get Report

reported impressive revenue growth in the second quarter with the help of strong Thalomid sales, and the company said it expects to meet or exceed its previous guidance for the full year.

The Summit, N.J., biotech company reported net income of $10.8 million, or 6 cents a share, in the second quarter, up from $2.6 million, or 2 cents a share, in the prior year. Excluding certain charges, Celgene earned 17 cents a share, compared with the 14 cents analysts expected.

Sales were $145.7 million, up 66% from the prior year and outpacing consensus estimates of $131.8 million. Sales of its leprosy drug Thalomid, which has shown positive trial results as a multiple myeloma treatment, climbed 26.6% in the quarter to $94.4 million.

Celgene has received an approvable letter from the Food and Drug Administration for Thalomid in treating multiple myeloma. According to the company, though it declined to provide specific market share data, the drug has become the most widely prescribed drug as a first- and second-line therapy for the disease.

The company said 16% of Thalomid currently being used is provided free of charge to uninsured patients. In January, these patients will be covered by a Medicare prescription drug benefit, the company said.

Celgene said it has increased research and development spending to advance regulatory filings for what the company calls its highest priority, Revlimid, a drug being studied for blood disorders like myelodysplastic syndromes and multiple myeloma. Celgene incurred R&D expenses of $49 million in the second quarter, a 27% increase from a year ago.

"We are very pleased with both the strong operating performance and the significant clinical and regulatory advances achieved with Revlimid this quarter," Chairman and CEO John Jackson said in a press release.

Celgene said Revlimid is involved in more than 50 clinical trials, including as a treatment for blood cancers as well as solid tumors such as nonsmall cell lung cancers and prostate, pancreatic, renal and ovarian cancers.

In its conference call Thursday, Celgene said it will meet or exceed its previously announced 2005 guidance. The company projects revenue of $525 million, up 40% from a year ago, with Thalomid sales of $400 million, a 30% increase year over year. Celgene expects to report earnings of 55 cents for the year, up 57%.

The estimates don't include Revlimid revenue and expenses, but the company said it might amend its outlook after the FDA's review of the drug on Oct. 7. Shares of Celgene were up 42 cents to $47.69.