Alexion Pharmaceuticals’ (NASDAQ:ALXN) second quarter 2011 earnings (excluding special items but including stock-based compensation) of $0.23 per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a cent and the year-ago earnings by 8 cents. Earnings include the effect of the stock split completed in May 2011. Earnings in the quarter benefited from an increase in revenues.
Alexion’s revenues jumped 47.6% to $185.7 million in the reported quarter driven by strong Soliris (eculizumab) sales. Soliris is Alexion’s only marketed product. It is approved for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), a rare genetic blood disorder. The disorder can lead to anemia, fatigue, pain and breathing problems.
Revenues surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $179 million. The impressive revenues recorded in the reported quarter were indicative of the addition of new patients.
Adjusted operating expenses at Alexion jumped 42.9% to $102.6 million in the reported quarter. The increase was attributable to a hike in both research and development (R&D) expenses (53.9%) and selling, general and administrative expenses (38.1%).
While R&D expenses increased because of the company’s efforts to develop its pipeline, the rise in SG&A expenses were attributable to Alexion’s efforts to expand and the costs related to the preparations for the launch of Soliris for the atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) indication. Soliris is under review in the US and the European Union for the indication.
2011 Guidance Increased
Apart from announcing financial results, Alexion also provided guidance for 2011. The company expects to end 2011 with revenues in the range of $745 – $755 million as opposed to the previously expected range of $720 – $740 million.
The increased forecast was based on the impressive sales of Soliris for the PNH indication. The expectation of Soliris’ approval in the US for aHUS in the fourth quarter of 2011, assuming a positive response from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), also contributed to the increased revenue forecast.
Alexion also increased the earnings guidance for 2011. The company expects 2011 earnings per share in the range of $1.10-$1.15 as opposed to the previously expected range of $1.05-$1.12. The earnings projection includes the effect of the stock split completed in May 2011.
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