Today's Biotech Stocks to Watch: BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc, InterMune, Inc. and Seattle Genetics Inc.

Today's top stories in health care and biotech.

May 1, 2014 at 9:30AM


Let's take a look at today's top stories in biotech and health care. Keep an eye out for BioMarin (NASDAQ:BMRN), InterMune (NASDAQ:ITMN), and Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ:SGEN).  

BioMarin will hold an earnings call after the bell today
Orphan drug specialist BioMarin will report earnings today and hold a conference call after the bell to expound upon the results. Here's what you should listen for during the call.

The continued commercialization of BioMarin's newly approved enzyme replacement therapy, Vimizim, for Morquio A syndrome will be the centerpiece of the call. Although Vimizim only received full approval in Europe this week, the commercialization effort within the U.S. has been under way for a few months now. Moreover, BioMarin's management gave full year revenue guidance of $650 to $680 million during its fourth quarter earnings call, which included their sales estimates for Vimizim. Now that we are further into the process and the European approval is official, you should definitely keep an ear open for any changes in the company's rosy outlook. What's interesting to note is that BioMarin's own estimates are roughly $100 million higher than the consensus estimates being floated by Wall Street.

And turning to consensus estimates, the Street is expecting a loss per share of $0.46 on $145.5 million in revenue today. To be honest, however, these estimates are largely a shot in the dark, because the details of Vimizim's ongoing commercialization have been sketchy so far. As such, I wouldn't be surprised if BioMarin beats consensus when it reports today, but again, the bigger issue is any change to annual guidance, in my opinion. 

InterMune reports after the bell today
The closely watched developmental stage biotech InterMune will report earnings today and will hold a conference call after the bell as well. InterMune's recent celebrity status among biotechs stems from its experimental drug for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis called Esbriet. Although the drug isn't approved in the U.S. yet, the company plans to file a New Drug Application, or NDA, with the Food and Drug Administration later this year, based on compelling late-stage results that caused shares to jump a noteworthy 117%. 

Consensus estimates for InterMune's loss per share stand at $0.62 on revenue of $28.4 million heading into today's release. What you should really pay attention to during today's call, however, is the company's progress in terms of filing Esbriet's NDA, as well as any potential surprises regarding a buyout offer. Ever since the company announced its top-line results for Esbriet earlier this year, it's been the subject of rampant speculation regarding a buyout. The French drugmaker Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) has reportedly taken a keen interest in InterMune, especially after releasing anemic earnings earlier this week. Whether or not this rumor turns out to have legs is unknown, but there is an outside chance that management may discuss a potential buyout scenario. 

Can Seattle Genetics beat consensus?
The innovative cancer drugmaker Seattle Genetics will hold its earnings call after the bell today, with consensus estimates for loss per share coming in at $0.21 on $64.62 million in revenue. All eyes will be on the commercial performance for the company's flagship antibody-drug conjugate, Adcetris, which is currently approved for two indications.

I think it's fair to say that Seattle needs to have a strong earnings report today, given that that the stock has now fallen over 15% in the past month alone. The problem appears to be that Seattle is only expected to rake in around $265 million in revenue this year, will continue to operate at a fairly substantial loss due to its robust clinical program, and already sports a market cap of $4.73 billion. In other words, most of Seattle's valuation appears to be tied to Adcetris' clinical development, which is hoped to push the therapy to blockbuster status one day. 

What's key to listen in for today are details regarding the milestone payments that Seattle will receive this quarter per its agreement with Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and the progress made on Adcetris' wide-ranging clinical program. Given that clinical activities are paramount to Seattle's future and current valuation, I don't think you should be overly concerned with the loss per share, but a beat on revenue would certainly be a welcome surprise. 

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George Budwell has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends BioMarin Pharmaceutical and Seattle Genetics. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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