Amgen on Thursday reported better-than-expected first-quarter results and said it plans to study psoriasis drug Otezla as a potential treatment for Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Otezla, which Amgen acquired last year from Celgene as part of Celgene's buyout by Bristol-Myers Squibb, is a pill that helps reduce overactive inflammation. Other similar medicines are also being tested to see if they can help Covid-19 patients.
Amgen, which maintained its full-year earnings forecast, also said it is working with partner Adaptive Biotechnologies to identify antibodies targeting the novel coronavirus that may be developed into a drug to potentially prevent or treat Covid-19.
Amgen shares were up 1.5% in extended trading after earlier climbing as much as 2.4%
Amgen said strong first-quarter sales of Otezla, along with higher volume sales of drugs like cholesterol treatment Repatha, contributed to an 11% increase in revenue for the period.
The company last year launched a lower-priced Repatha option aimed at reducing out-of-pocket costs for Medicare patients.
Several other newer medicines also had double-digit percentage sales increase in the period.
"As we expected, Amgen's results were strong, but we did not get a guidance raise," Credit Suisse analyst Evan Seigerman said in a research note.
"We are encouraged with the progress and minimal disruption from Covid-19 across the business," he added.
The biotechnology company reported an adjusted profit of $4.17 per share, up 17% from a year earlier and well above analysts' average expectations of $3.76, according to Refinitiv IBES.
Amgen said the results were driven by revenue of $6.16 billion and fewer shares outstanding. That topped Wall Street estimates for revenue of just under $6 billion.
Net profit fell 3% to $3.07 per share due to higher operating costs that were partially offset by the lower share count.
For 2020, the Thousand Oaks, California-based company said it still expects adjusted earnings of $14.85 to $15.60 per share on revenue of $25 billion to $25.6 billion.