Jan 28 (Reuters) - Amgen Inc on Tuesday reported a forecast-beating quarterly profit, as the profit-sharing agreement on its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel became more favorable and on lower taxes.
Amgen, the world's biggest biotechnology company, announced another positive result from a late-stage study of its high-profile experimental cholesterol drug. It also issued an initial 2014 earnings forecast range with a midpoint below Wall Street consensus estimates, which could be viewed by investors as either conservative or disappointing.
Amgen typically adjusts its full-year forecasts over the course of the year.
The company said it expects 2014 adjusted earnings of $7.90 to $8.20 per share and revenue of $19.2 billion to $19.6 billion. Analysts on average are looking for $8.18 per share and revenue of $19.57 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Amgen said the fourth Phase III clinical trial of its experimental cholesterol fighter evolocumab from a highly promising new class of medicines succeeded in significantly lowering "bad" LDL cholesterol, adding to a wealth of positive results for the medicine that would put the company into heart care for the first time.
The company plans this year to begin seeking approvals for the drug intended for people who cannot tolerate widely used statins or who are unable to get their LDL levels low enough despite using high potency statins, such as AstraZeneca's Crestor.
Amgen said its fourth-quarter net profit rose to $1.02 billion, or $1.33 per share, from $788 million, or $1.01 per share, a year ago.
Excluding items, Amgen said it had adjusted earnings of $1.82 per share, topping analysts' average expectations of $1.68 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Beginning in November, Pfizer Inc's share of Enbrel sales reverted back to Amgen and became a 12 percent royalty payment. Amgen has said that it expects that to add $800 million to operating income in 2014.
Revenue for the quarter rose 13 percent to $5.01 billion, compared with $4.42 billion a year earlier.