Friday, October 18, 2013

Amgen, Inc. (AMGN) Q3 Earnings Preview: Pipeline In Focus

Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) is expected to report its third quarter financial results on Oct.22. The biotech company will host a conference call to discuss the results on the same day at 2pm pacific time.

Wall Street expects Amgen to earn $1.78 a share, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The consensus estimate implies an increase of 6.6 percent from $1.67 it earned last year.

Amgen's earnings have managed to top Street view in all of the past four quarters, with upside surprise in the range 1.4 percent to 13.6 percent.

Over the past three months, the consensus estimate decreased by a penny and three analysts have raised their profit view of the company in the last 30 days.

Quarterly revenue is expected to rise 6.5 percent to $4.60 billion from $4.32 billion in the same quarter last year.

In the third quarter, the company bought Onyx Pharmaceuticals for about $10.4 billion, making it one of its key acquisitions that could shield the company from the threat of looming patent expirations for its blockbuster drugs. The agreement ended the two-month long struggle between both companies to reach a deal.

With Onyx, Amgen has gained the full rights of Kyprolis, the newly approved multiple myeloma drug. Market analysts expects Kyprolis to generate annual sales in between $2 billion and $3 billion in few years. Kyprolis has an orphan drug designation in the U.S. with exclusivity until July 2019, and patents in the U.S. which extend until at least 2025.

Amgen will also gain revenues from Nexavar, the liver and kidney cancer drug that Onyx sells in partnership with Germany's Bayer AG, and also royalty payments from Bayer's colon cancer treatment Stivarga. The company will also gain revenues from palbociclib, a Pfizer Inc. compound.

The revenues generated from these new cancer drugs is expected to boost Amgen's top line, which started showing some weakness with the emergence of generic competition for its top selling drugs. Amgen also expects the acquis! ition to be accretive to Amgen's adjusted net income in 2015.

Investor would be looking for any additional updates regarding the deal.

Meanwhile, pipeline updates should be the key focus for investors. Late September, Amgen announced late-stage results of the Phase 3 ASPECCT trial comparing Vectibix to Erbitux for the treatment of wild-type KRAS metastatic colorectal cancer in patients who have not responded to chemotherapy.

Amgen said the Phase 3 ASPECCT trial, which evaluated nearly 1,000 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, met its primary endpoint, demonstrating that panitumumab was non-inferior to cetuximab for overall survival.

During the quarter, Amgen said treatment with its AMG 145 resulted in significant reductions in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), or "bad" cholesterol, of up to 59 percent in an efficacy analysis of pooled data in Phase 2 studies. AMG 145 is an investigational human monoclonal antibody that inhibits PCSK9, a protein that reduces the liver's ability to remove LDL-C from the blood.

Further, investors will focus on 2013's outlook. Late July, the company guided full year revenues to be at the upper end of $17.8 billion to $18.2 billion and adjusted EPS to be in the range of $7.30 to $7.45. Analysts expect earnings of $7.31 a share.

For the second quarter, Thousand Oaks, California-based Amgen posted net income of $1.26 billion or $1.65 per share, compared with $1.27 billion or $1.61 per share a year ago. Excluding items, adjusted earnings were $1.89 per share. Revenues for the quarter grew 5 percent to $4.68 billion, mainly driven by a 9 percent increase in sales of rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel.

Sales of Neulasta - used to reduce the risk of infection due to chemotherapy induced neutropenia (white blood cell deficiency) - were up 10 percent. Combined sales of XGEVA, for the prevention of skeletal related events, and Prolia, for postmenopausal osteoporosis, surged 46 percent.

AMGN stock traded with a 52-week r! ange of $! 81.56 to $117.91, trades 14 times its forward earnings. They have gained 3 percent since the last quarterly report and gained 28 percent in the last year.

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