Lantheus Holdings (LNTH -3.04%), which makes diagnostic medical imaging agents that help physicians diagnose and treat cardiovascular and other diseases, saw its shares rise 16.4% on Friday. The stock closed on Thursday at $59.12, then opened on Friday at $68.65, rising to its 52-week high of $68.80 in the first hour of trading.
A strong first-quarter earnings report gave the stock a boost. The company reported revenue of $208.9 million, up 125.8%, year over year, net income of $43 million, up from $9 million in the same period in 2021, and earnings per share (EPS) of $0.97 compared to EPS of $0.05, year over year.
Lantheus also increased its full-year guidance to say it expects between $800 million and $835 million in revenue this year (up from a range of $685 million to $710 million) and full-year EPS between $2.90 and $3.15, up from a range of $1.95 to $2.05. At the low end, those numbers would represent an increase of 88% over 2021 revenue and at the high end, an increase of 96.4%, while the EPS compares to a loss of $1.06 in 2021.
The big driver for the company was the success of its prostate cancer imaging agent Plyarify and its FDA-approved artificial intelligence software program, Plyarify AI, that analyzes CT images to detect prostate cancer, which brought in $92.7 million in the first quarter. The drug was just approved in May and already has become the company's blockbuster, pulling in $136.2 million in revenue since it was launched in November. Plyarify is an injectable fluorinated small-molecule PSMA- (prostate-specific membrane antigen, seen on the outside of prostate cancer cells) targeted PET imaging agent that helps clinicians determine the presence or absence of recurrent and metastatic prostate cancer in lymph nodes, bones, and soft tissue metastases.
It would be easy to be bullish on Lantheus even if Plyarify was its only product, as it has the potential to become the PSMA PET imaging agent of choice for prostate cancer. That's a big deal, because prostate cancer is the second-most common form of cancer for U.S. men after skin cancer, affecting 107.5 of every 100,000 men annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, the healthcare company already has other products that are showing growth, led by Definity, an injectable cardiovascular ultrasound enhancement agent that brought in $58.2 million in revenue in the first quarter, up 4% year over year. Lantheus also has four other agents in its pipeline that are in late-stage trials, so the company looks like a great long-term play.