Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) posted a solid third quarter earnings report with product sales up 19% -- with most of that coming from increases in volume -- and adjusted earnings per share up 24%.
But when you dive down to the individual drug level, it was a tale of two cities with a couple of drugs outperforming and a couple of laggards.
Sales of flagship Revlimid grew 19% year over year. That's amazing considering the drug was approved in the U.S. almost nine years ago. The question as the drug approaches $5 billion in annual sales is whether Revlimid can continue to grow.
Fortunately, there are other opportunities for additional sales. Celgene is trying to get Revlimid approved as a first-line therapy for multiple myeloma; the Food and Drug Administration will make a decision in February, and a European decision is expected sometime in the first half of next year. Celgene is also testing Revlimid in other indications beyond multiple myeloma. We should see data from trials testing Revlimid in myelodysplastic syndromes and mantle cell lymphoma at the American Society of Hematology meeting in December that could expand its use for those diseases, and Celgene has ongoing clinical trials in other types of lymphoma.
Sales of Celgene's other multiple myeloma drug, Pomalyst, doubled year over year with U.S. sales up 54% and international sales up a whopping 402% although that was a based off a small base of just $12.5 million internationally in the year-ago quarter.
Turning to the stragglers, sales of Abraxane were up 25% year over year. While that doesn't sound like a laggard, it's a 1.4% decrease compared to the second quarter of this year. Management blamed uneven buying patterns in the U.S. for the decline; lagging sales in metastatic breast cancer aren't helping, although growth in lung cancer and pancreatic cancer are making up for the decline there. International sales were ealthier with sales up 9% quarter over quarter thanks to the launch in pancreatic cancer in Europe. Considering it's not even approved for lung cancer in Europe yet, we should seem more growth in the future.
And then there's the newest kid, Otezla. Sales came in at $17.6 million for its first full quarter on the market. That's a far cry from its full potential and smaller than analysts were expecting, especially considering that Otezla passed AbbVie's (NYSE:ABBV) Humira as the top-branded drug when looking at new treatment starts for psoriatic arthritis.
Part of the discrepancy comes from free titration packs that patients get when they start the medication while their insurance is being processed. Those won't show up in the sales number, but will eventually convert to sales once they're getting their medication from a pharmacy. More than half of doctors who have given out free trials have handed out three or more free trials, a good sign that they're comfortable with the benefit-risk profile of the drug.
Fourth quarter numbers should be more telling about Otezla's launch trajectory. In addition to converts from free trials, we'll see the first sales for psoriasis, which is four times the size of psoriatic arthritis, after the late-September approval for that indication.
Based on the solid quarter, Celgene increased its adjusted earnings guidance for the year by a nickel on both sides to a range of $3.65 to $3.70 per share. That implies fourth quarter adjusted quarter earnings of $0.95 to $1.00 per share, a 26% growth year over year. Look for more growth ahead, hopefully from all the drugs in its portfolio.
Brian Orelli has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Celgene. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.