Wyeth posted double-digit growth of 13% for the second quarter on the back of continued strong sales of its pneumonia vaccine Prevnar (diptheria CRM197 protein) and its arthritis drug Enbrel (etanercept).
Revenue increased by almost 10% to $5.6 billion from $5.16 billion a year earlier, resulting in an overall growth figure of 10% to $11.0 billion for the first half of the year, in line with analysts’ forecasts. On average, analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected earnings of 87 cents a share and revenue of $5.48 billion.
“We are on track for another excellent year, and have increased our full year pro forma diluted earnings per share guidance to a range of $3.48 to $3.56,” said Chairman and CEO Robert Essner.
Sales of Enbrel, which ranks second in total global sales among all biotech products, and is the second fastest growing drug among the best-selling pharmaceutical products, jumped 37% outside the US and Canada to $508 million. Wyeth’s marketing partner Amgen reports earnings from the arthritis drug within North America.
Meanwhile, Prevnar continues to be the world’s best-selling vaccine, with net revenue growth rising 35% due to the positive impact of national immunisation programmes that began in late 2006 in several countries including Germany, Mexico, and the Netherlands.
A bright future ahead
“The future is bright as we prepare for the launch of seven new products in the next 18 months,” said Chief Operating Officer Bernard Poussot in a conference call with investors.
This month the company will begin marketing the recently approved contraceptive Lybrel (levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol), which has expected annual sales of $250 million, and kidney cancer drug Torisel (temsirolimus), whose sales are expected to top $500 million. By the end of the year, Wyeth hopes to gain FDA approval for Pristiq (desvenlafaxine succinate), a menopause and depression medicine derived from Effexor (venlafaxine hydrochloride); Viviant (bazedoxifene), for the prevention of menopausal bone loss; and the schizophrenia drug bifeprunox.
Wyeth has recorded profit growth for seven consecutive quarters. The company needs to maintain revenue growth to offset losses when its best selling drug, the antidepressant Effexor, loses patent protection in 2010.