Serono Q2 sales miss forecasts, partly on disappointing Rebif performance - TheStreet

Serono stock plunged 14% and counting after Europe's biggest biotechnology company lowered its 2002 sales guidance on slow Rebif sales, among other things. The company expects profits for the year to grow by 10% instead of the previously projected 15% to 17%, it said.

Serono also reported an 8.6% dip in profits for the second quarter, although analysts had expected worse. Sales missed analysts' estimates of about $360 million, partly due to the disappointing results of Rebif.

Rebif is an interferon-based treatment for multiple sclerosis. Israel's Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq,TASE:TEVA) makes a non-interferon treatment, Copaxone.

The company remains upbeat about Rebif's prospects, however, after the FDA approved its marketing in the United States. Serono said today that it expects to grab 30% of the U.S. market by 2005, thanks to its marketing deal with Pfizer,

Reuters

reports.

Analysts have concluded that Rebif poses little danger to Copaxone, though. Teva too has been toughing it out: its CEO Israel Makov told TheMarker.com on July 11 that the Serono-Pfizer marketing deal will ultimately benefit Teva too by increasing the penetration of MS drugs in general.