In the first quarter, Regeneron registered sales of $124 million, a solid increase over the $72 million run rate it exited the fourth quarter with. The biotech estimates it's taken 10% of the macular degeneration market. The ability to inject the drug half as often is a clear advantage, so I'm not shocked it was able to reach that level of penetration -- I'm just surprised it happened so quickly.
Equally surprised, it seems, is Regeneron's management -- or they're just really cautious with guidance. After the solid quarter, Regeneron is guiding for sales between $500 million and $550 million this year, which is nearly double the guidance it put out in February. And that guidance was an increase from just a month prior.
The solid quarter allowed the biotech to become profitable for the first time in its history, which is always a monumental occasion. Given the continuing increase in sales, I imagine Regeneron will be able to stay in the black, something other fledgling biotechs like Onyx Pharmaceuticals
Regeneron's secret to success is the pact it struck with Sanofi
While the launch of Eylea has been nothing short of spectacular, investors' enthusiasm might be getting ahead of itself. With a market cap over $12 billion, Regeneron trades at a whopping 24 times this year's projected sales -- not earnings, sales. Investors are counting on Eylea to continue growing, which seems reasonable given the room to penetrate further, but the biotech will likely need a hit or two from the pipeline to justify that price as well.
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Fool contributor Brian Orelli holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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