Amgen earnings: $2.61 per share, vs. expected EPS of $2.29

Amgen beat on its fourth-quarter earnings, helped by increased sales of its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel and lower costs.

The biopharmaceutical giant reported adjusted earnings per share of $2.61 on $5.54 billion in revenue. Analysts had expected Amgen to post earnings of about $2.29 a share on $5.53 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

"2015 was an exceptional year for Amgen with six innovative new launches, strong financial performance, continued pipeline advances and improved operating margins driven by our transformation efforts," said Robert Bradway, Amgen's CEO, in a press release.

The company also raised its full-year guidance, with a new EPS range of $10.60 to $11 and $22 billion to $22.5 billion in revenue. It had previously forecast adjusted earnings of $10.35 to $10.75 and $21.7 billion to $22.33 billion in revenue. Amgen's raised guidance reflects U.S. congressional approval of the research and development tax credit and delays in competition from biosimilar versions of some of its products.

Amgen's ongoing cost-cutting efforts helped drive the earnings beat as R&D expenses fell 10 percent in the quarter and costs of sales decreased 7 percent. Sales of Enbrel rose 8 percent to $1.44 billion, primarily driven by price increases. That topped Wall Street estimates for about $1.32 billion.

"We remain on track to meet or exceed our 2018 commitments and deliver value for patients and shareholders," Bradway added.

Like other biotechnology and pharmaceutical stocks, Amgen has not had an easy start to the year. The shares have been under pressure and are down around 8.5 percent in 2016, according to FactSet.

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the biopharmaceutical company's cancer drug Kyprolis to be combined and used with existing drugs for a multipronged treatment of multiple myeloma.

In December, Amgen also regained the sales rights to three drugs from GlaxoSmithKline. Glaxo reported $111 million in combined sales in 2014 from those drugs.

— Reuters contributed to this article.