As we've said--CNBC pharmaceuticals reporter Mike Huckman is at the 25th Annual JPMorgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco this week. This morning on “Squawk on the Street” he got a chance to talk to Celgene Chairman and CEO Sol Barer. Barer’s company is up 365% over the past three years and has a cancer-fighting drug he says has “multibillion-dollar potential.”
The drug, Revlimid, has proved useful against some forms of leukemia and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, according to recent data released by the American Society of Hematology. Barer expects more positive news on the treatment throughout 2007.
“We think the drug can transform not only Celgene but more importantly the treatment of hematological malignancies around the globe,” the CEO said.
The one possible downside for patients needing Revlimid is that it costs $200 a pill. The new Democrat-controlled Congress may have Big Pharma in its sights, but Barer says that the pill is “of great value to patients,” and he thinks it’s priced competitively compared to other oncology therapies.
Some on Wall Street may think that a company with a $20 billion market cap is beyond buyout reach, but Barer disagrees. The company has far from peaked, he says.
“I think we’re just beginning, Celgene, as a company. I think there is enormous potential in Revlimid, in our pipeline of drugs,” says Barer, “so we’re right at the beginning of it. We’re not in any way toward the end of it.”
IMPORTANT NOTE (and not to bury the lead): Celgene announced at its presentation last night that it expects earnings per share to be below analysts estimates by about 8 cents or 9 cents; this despite Barer’s prediction that EPS will still double and revenue will jump 40%. The company founder blames the revision on “lots of moving parts,” such as drug rollout issues in Europe. The company wanted to be realistic about “what we felt we could absolutely accomplish,” Barer said.