UPDATE 1-Regeneron earnings beat forecasts, Eylea outlook higher
Nov 5 (Reuters) - Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc on Tuesday reported quarterly profit that beat analyst expectations and again raised its forecast for its high-flying Eylea eye drug, sending its shares up by more than 7 percent.
Regeneron, whose stock has been propelled by the success of Eylea, said that U.S. sales of the sight-saving drug rose 49 percent to $363 million in the quarter. The drug also had international sales of $125 million.
That represents a slowing of the stunning growth the drug has enjoyed as many patients are able to move to twice-monthly injections from the initial weekly injections of the medicine, used to treat the leading cause of blindness in the elderly - wet age-related macular degeneration.
In the previous quarter, Regeneron had reported Eylea growth of 70 percent, which was down from 153 percent growth in the first quarter. The drug has been on the market for two years.
The company slightly raised its forecast for 2013 Eylea sales to a range of $1.35 billion to $1.375 billion from its previous forecast of $1.3 billion to $1.35 billion.
Despite the slowing growth trend, Morningstar analyst Stefan Quenneville said, "There's a lot of opportunity for international growth and growth through new indications."
The company said it has filed an application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking additional approval for Eylea to treat diabetic macular edema.
Regeneron reported net income of $141 million, or $1.25 per share, down from $191 million, or $1.72 per share a year earlier. Analysts had expected third-quarter earnings of 90 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose 40 percent to $597 million for the quarter.
"Overall it was a very good quarter and there is a lot of interest in their PCSK9 program," said Quenneville, referring to an experimental drug to lower 'bad' LDL cholesterol being developed along with Sanofi that analysts see as a potential multibillion-dollar product.
Regeneron shares were up $17.03, or 6 percent, at $298.73 in afternoon trade on Nasdaq, after climbing as high as $302.19 earlier on Tuesday.