Shares in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals were up nearly 12% on Tuesday afternoon after a series of announcements pleased investors, particularly a very healthy US sales forecast for Eylea and a new development pact with Bayer HealthCare.
The New York-based biotech looks set to book US sales of around $400 million for the fourth quarter, bumping up annual revenues to $1.4 billion, chief executive Len Schleifer reportedly told delegates at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference.
The expected result for Eylea, which treats wet age-related macular degeneration and is sold by Bayer in Europe, beat analyst estimates including a $377.5 million average of eight estimates put together by Bloomberg.
Also sparking a degree of excitement, Regeneron and Bayer unveiled a new pact to jointly develop of a new treatment option for wet-AMD combining Regeneron's PDGFR-beta antibody and Eylea in a single intravitreal injection.
The moves comes on the back of preclinical data suggesting that combining PDGFR-beta blockade with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) blockade by Eylea "can provide advantages" over inhibiting VEGF alone in treating the disease, Regeneron said.
First human clinical studies are currently planned to begin early this year.
Under the terms of the deal, Bayer will make an upfront payment of $25.5 million to Regeneron and will share global development costs for the program.
Regeneron will have US rights to the drug and bags 100% of sales in the region, while Bayer gets rights to rest of the world but will give an equal share of profits from ex-US sales to its partner.
New genetics initiative
Elsewhere, Regeneron also announced a new human genetics initiative via a new wholly owned subsidiary, the Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC), which has the objective of expanding the use of human genetics for defining disease targets and improving the drug development process.
In line with this, the firm has also entered a major research collaboration with the Geisinger Health System of Pennsylvania, one of the largest integrated health systems in the US, to study the genetic determinants of human disease.
During the initial five-year collaboration term, Geisinger plans to collect samples from more than 100,000 consented patient volunteers, while Regeneron, through its RGC,, will perform sequencing and genotyping to generate de-identified genomic data.