3 Eye-Openers From Regeneron's Q3 Earnings Results

Third-quarter results for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: REGN  ) caught the attention of investors' eyes on Tuesday. Shares climbed more than 6% after the company announced solid performance last quarter.

Regeneron reported non-GAAP net income of $277 million, or $2.40 per diluted share -- a 27% year-over-year jump and well above analysts' expectations. Here are three eye-openers from the company's results beyond those earnings numbers.

1. Eylea's growth
Clearly, the best news for Regeneron is Eylea's continued strong growth trend. U.S. sales soared 49% compared to the third quarter of 2012 to $363 million. Bayer Healthcare, which markets Eylea outside of the U.S., recorded sales of $125 million for the drug -- up from $102 million in the second quarter. Including milestone payments, Regeneron received more than $88.5 million from Bayer in the third quarter.

More opportunities lie ahead for Eylea that could propel sales even higher. While around 50 countries have granted approval for the drug, more approvals and launches should be in store for 2014.

Regeneron is also moving forward with plans to expand into other indications. Most recently, the company submitted a supplemental Biologics License Application, or BLA, for diabetic macular edema, or DME. Regeneron and Bayer expect to submit for European regulatory approval for the DME indication by the end of the year.

2. Spending like crazy
It's good that Eylea is having so much success, because Regeneron is spending a lot of those profits. Total expenses jumped 60% compared to the third quarter of last year, from $225 million to over $360 million.

The biggest chunk of that spending growth came from research and development. Regeneron said that the higher R&D expenses were largely due to its antibody collaboration with Sanofi (NYSE: SNY  ) , more staff, and higher stock compensation expense.

R&D wasn't the only area for Regeneron's big-spending ways, though. The company reported significantly higher selling, general, and administrative costs related primarily to commercialization of Eylea and higher stock compensation expense.

3. Opportunities beyond Eylea
Spending more money on R&D isn't a bad thing, especially if you can get a good return on investment. Regeneron certainly hopes to do so with its human monoclonal antibodies development program, which includes 13 antibodies -- seven of which include Sanofi as a partner.

The two drugs farthest along in development are alirocumab and sarilumab. Alirocumab is in a phase 3 study for reducing LDL cholesterol. Sarilumab is part of several late-stage studies focusing on treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Both drugs are being developed in collaboration with Sanofi.

Unfortunately, the one product from a prior collaboration with the French drugmaker that is already on the market -- cancer drug Zaltrap -- hasn't done too well so far. Sanofi reported third-quarter sales of $18 million, up from $8 million year over year but less than the $19 million recorded in the second quarter of 2013.

Zaltrap's main problem is that it faces stiff competition from Roche's (NASDAQOTH: RHHBY  ) Avastin and Erbitux, which is co-marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY  ) and Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY  ) . Roche made $3.3 billion from Avastin last year, while Bristol and Lilly raked in a combined $1.1 billion in North America for Erbitux. Zaltrap's sales barely amount to a rounding error for the two rival drugs.

Looking ahead
The keys for Regeneron's future growth lie in expanding Eylea to new indications and reaping the rewards from its pipeline. Prospects for winning on the first count seem to be pretty good. The second proposition also looks to be attainable, particularly with alirocumab.

Probably one of the biggest risk for investors interested in Regeneron is its valuation, which is priced for perfection. Any hiccups with Eylea sales or regulatory approvals could take a big hit on the stock. Over the long run, though, Regeneron continues to be a company that investors should keep their eyes on.

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