For investors in the stock market, no surprise can be better than an earnings surprise. Wrapped up in a press release, pharmaceutical company Wyeth
The previous range of earnings per share with which Wyeth provided investors in July was in the range of $2.97-$3.07, and now the new range is $3.12-$3.18, excluding any possible restructuring charges. If Wyeth can hit these revised numbers, this would represent an increase of about 15% in EPS, compared to the company's $2.75 per share (pro forma) earned in 2005.
Not all the news this week has been rosy for Wyeth. On Wednesday, the company lost a lawsuit related to its menopause treatment, Prempro. The plaintiff in the case claimed that the estrogen and progesterone drug caused her breast cancer. The jury agreed and has initially awarded her $1.5 million in compensatory damages. Any possible punitive damages will be determined next week.
This is the second lawsuit over Prempro to be concluded. The first one was won by Wyeth, so now the company is 1-1 in these cases. With around 5,000 lawsuits against Wyeth pending concerning Prempro, the size of any damages awarded is very important to watch, even if the case will probably be overturned on appeal. The next Prempro case goes to court this month.
Despite the dark cloud of lawsuits and multimillion-dollar payouts (which Wyeth is already accustomed to, thanks to its failed diet drug, fen-phen), there is much to like about this large-cap, diversified pharmaceutical company. Wyeth has seven late-stage drug candidates and a fairly deep drug pipeline filled with several potential blockbusters to treat areas like Alzheimer's disease, various cancers, and psychological disorders.
Continuing with its promise to submit five new drug applications (NDAs) to the FDA this year, Wyeth announced today that it has filed an NDA for its kidney cancer treatment, Torisel. Also this month, Wyeth plans to file an application for approval for potential blockbuster schizophrenia drug Bifeprunox. These shots on goal will provide Wyeth with years of revenue growth if they can gain marketing approval.
Trading at roughly 17 times 2006 EPS, paying a dividend yielding 2%, and with multiple potential drug approvals coming in 2007, Wyeth is a company worth keeping an eye on in case there are any irrational share price declines over fears of lawsuits and million-dollar payouts.
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