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,
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.