Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

BioMarin Turns a Profit (on an Adjusted Basis)

By Brian Orelli, PhD - Feb 26, 2018 at 4:25PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

It's a step in the right direction for the 20-year old biotech.

BioMarin Pharmaceuticals (BMRN -1.97%) continues its double-digit growth in revenue while turning a profit -- at least on an adjusted basis -- in the fourth quarter and reaching its goal of being profitable on an adjusted basis for the full year as the company celebrated its 20th anniversary. No one ever said drug development was quick.

BioMarin Pharmaceutical results: The raw numbers


Q4 2017

Q4 2016

Year-Over-Year Change


$358 million

$300 million


Income from operations

$58.0 million

($89.6 million)


Earnings per share




Data source: BioMarin Pharmaceutical.

What happened with BioMarin Pharmaceutical this quarter?

  • Revenue was boosted by sales of Kuvan, Naglazyme, and Vimizim, which increased 19%, 25%, and 22%, respectively. Sales of Aldurazyme dragged down the overall growth -- down 19% year over year -- but it produces the lowest revenue of the four by far, and revenue can be lumpy with countries making large orders that vary from quarter to quarter; the double-digit decline isn't likely a trend since Aldurazyme sales were only down 4% for the year.
  • Sales of Brineura are off to a slow start with revenue of just $5.2 million, but management warned that the launch would be slow as it takes awhile to get treatment sites up and running. There are 22 sites currently treating patients, with a plan to have about 40 sites up and running by the middle of this year, which will help BioMarin reach its goal of Brineura revenue between $35 million and $55 million this year.
  • In December, the company sold the rare pediatric disease priority review voucher that it got for the approval of Brineura for late infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis type 2 (CLN2) for $125 million.
  • At the American Society of Hemophilia meeting in December, BioMarin reported solid data for its gene therapy valoctocogene roxaparvovec to treat hemophilia A. The first of two phase 3 trials to get the treatment approved by regulators is under way, with the second trial expected to start in early 2018.
  • In the fourth quarter, the company also presented updated data from the phase 2 trial testing vosoritide in children with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, suggesting the drug continues to help patients out to 30 months. A phase 3 trial is under way with top-line data expected in the second half of 2019.
  • Like many companies, the earnings line was hurt by changes in U.S. tax law in 2017. On an adjusted basis, BioMarin turned a profit of $5.2 million in the fourth quarter.
Infant's foot being examined

Image source: Getty Images.

What management had to say

Jean-Jacques Bienaime, BioMarin's chairman and CEO, highlighted the benefits of working in the orphan drug space:

We received U.S. and EU approval for Brineura for the treatment of CLN2 in less than four years from the first patient being treated with our product. As a result of that approval, we received a pediatric priority review voucher, which we sold for more than half of Brineura's development costs.

Bienaime also gave some thoughts on potential acquisitions:

I would say our appetite for a large transformational deal is relatively low at this time. But however, we are always interested in earlier stage opportunities that would be strategically coherent with our overall strategy of continuing to develop first-in-class or best-in-class products for rare genetic disorders.

Looking forward

Management is looking for 2018 revenue growth of 15% to 19%, excluding last year's $35 million one-time payment from Sarepta Therapeutics related to the settlement over the companies' exon-skipping patent litigation. Some of that growth will come from pegvaliase, which is under review by the FDA, with a decision expected in late May, although management noted that it should be able to hit its goal even if pegvaliase isn't approved.

On the bottom line, management is looking for a GAAP loss of $115 million to $165 million, but on an adjusted basis, the company will be profitable again in 2018 with income falling between $100 million and $140 million.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. Stock Quote
BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc.
$78.78 (-1.97%) $-1.58

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/25/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.