Oncology Drug Growth Fuels Celgene's Q1 Profit Higher by 22%

Cancer-focused biopharmaceutical behemoth Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG  ) today reported steady growth in many of its key products and a higher adjusted profit in the first quarter despite a clear-cut rise in expenses.

For the quarter, Celgene delivered total revenue of $1.73 billion and net product sales of $1.71 billion, an increase of 18% and 19%, respectively. The main growth driver, as usual, was mantle cell lymphoma drug Revlimid whose sales increased 14% to $1.14 billion and accounted for 67% of Celgene's total quarterly product sales.

Beyond Revlimid, Abraxane sales soared 51% to $185 million, benefiting from its fairly recent treatment indication expansion into pancreatic cancer in the U.S. and Europe. Pomalyst/Imnovid sales were also impressive, totaling $136 million during the quarter.

If there was one blemish it was the introduction of generic competition to Vidaza in the U.S. where sales of the drug decreased 83% to just $14 million. Overseas, Vidaza sales increased 14% to $134 million.

From an earnings perspective, Celgene reported a 19% increase in net income to $705 million with adjusted EPS climbing 22% to $1.67. Gains were driven by strong oncology product sales, but were also partially offset by a 58% increase in research and development costs tied to select pipeline products entering later-stage studies, as well as a 34% rise in selling, general and administrative costs related to drug launch activities in the U.S. and abroad.

Looking ahead, Celgene reaffirmed its full-year forecast which calls for revenue of $7.5 billion, including Revlimid sales of $4.9 billion-$5 billion (representing 16% year-over-year growth at the midpoint), Abraxane sales of $850 million-$900 million (35% year-over-year growth at the midpoint), and adjusted EPS of $7-$7.20. 


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