Celgene Gets My Vote

It may be election season, but instead of "vote early and vote often," Celgene (Nasdaq: CELG  ) has a different campaign slogan: Use Revlimid early and often. 

The strategy seems to be working. Doctors are keeping patients on the multiple myeloma drug for a longer period of time to ensure the blood cancer is gone for good. The extended use helped boost sales of the company's top-selling drug by 43% in the third quarter.

Celgene is also working on getting patients onto Revlimid earlier in the disease's progression. One of its goals for 2010 has been to submit new data to European regulators to expand Revlimid's use into newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients.

There are still plenty of growth prospects left for Revlimid. In addition to expanding in other countries -- the drug recently launched in Japan -- Revlimid might be useful in treating other diseases. Celgene is in the process of testing the drug against other blood cancers: myelodysplastic syndromes, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

That multipronged strategy has worked for other drugmakers. Onyx Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ONXX  ) and Bayer, for instance, expanded Nexavar into liver cancer as well as expanding the drug into more than 90 countries. Sales in the first half of 2010 were up nearly 19% year over year.

After a substantial drop during the market meltdown last year, Celgene's stock price has come roaring back. The biotech looks expensive trading at 22 times 2010 adjusted earnings guidance, especially considering that you can grab pharmaceutical companies Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) , Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY  ) , and Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY  ) , for much cheaper and get a dividend to boot. But those larger drugmakers don't have the growth prospects that Celgene has. 

As long as it can keep up the substantial growth -- EPS is expected to grow 34% year over year in 2010 -- Celgene is worthy of your outperform vote in Motley Fool CAPS and perhaps a spot in your portfolio.

Pfizer is a Motley Fool Inside Value choice. 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.

Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., voted last week via mail. He doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool's disclosure policy ran for mayor of document town, but got beat by some rich guy's will.


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