The company rounded out the year with a 2% increase in revenue and a 1% decrease adjusted EPS in the fourth quarter. For the year, the numbers went the other way, but generally hugging that unchanged line: revenue down 2% and EPS up 8%, but most of that increase was due to a stock buyback -- net income was up just 3%.
Considering the whooping that its anemia drugs have taken -- Aranesp was down 15% year over year in 2009 -- I'd say a 2% overall decrease in revenue isn't too shabby. A lot of the loss was made up for by a 5% growth in Epogen sales. Enbrel, which Amgen now sells with Pfizer
Amgen expects adjusted EPS expected to grow anywhere from 3% to 7% this year. Where it hits on that range depends a lot on when the Food and Drug Administration approves Prolia. Amgen is back on the clock after submitting its response to the complete response letter it got in October.
Unfortunately, the company is sitting on a U.S. sales force for Prolia without any drug to market to primary care doctors. While they wait, the drug reps will be handing out information about Enbrel to encourage doctors to refer patients to dermatologists and rheumatologists. It's probably not going to increase sales of Enbrel too much, but at least the doctors will know their faces when the reps can finally start selling Prolia. Outside the U.S. this isn't as much of a problem since it's teamed up with GlaxoSmithKline
If the falling Aranesp sales subside and it gets Prolia approved in a timely manner, Amgen is poised to start the new decade much better than it ended the last.
Morgan Housel thinks this is Warren Buffett's best advice ever.