Expectations of Schering-Plough (NYSE:SGP) investors apparently have become quite high after 11 consecutive quarters of double-digit adjusted sales growth. They extended the company no pharma love as they punished it 13% yesterday for missing expectations.

Sales of the cholesterol-lowering drugs, VYTORIN and ZETIA, which it markets with Merck (NYSE:MRK), increased 26% year over year to bring total adjusted sales to $3.5 billion, a 12% increase over the year-ago quarter. While the sales of the cholesterol drugs were impressive, the growth has slowed down from the 30% year-over-year increase in sales the duo managed last quarter.

Drugs that Schering markets outside the U.S. for other companies contributed greatly to the increase in sales as well. Inflammatory disorders treatment REMICADE, which it markets for Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), increased 34%, while sales of Bayer's antibiotic AVELOX were up 24%.

In the end, though, it was the bottom line that had investors most worried. Excluding a net benefit from a currency option it bought as a hedge for its acquisition of Organon BioSciences, the company earned $0.28 per share, missing analysts' expectations of $0.30 per share.

Schering was trading at lofty premiums before the haircut investors gave it yesterday, but its newly acquired P/E of around 26 is still considerably higher than its big pharma brethren such as Pfizer (NYSE:PFE). But that's because Schering has a lot more going for it.

After the acquisition of Organon BioSciences in the fourth quarter, Schering will have 12 compounds in phase 3 trials. Add to that an impressive earlier stage pipeline including its hepatitis C virus drug candidate boceprevir, and Schering's future looks a lot brighter than most of the other pharmaceutical companies'.

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