NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Celgene Corp. (CELG) reported a 16% drop in net income for the fourth quarter, which was weighed down by higher costs and related-expenses from its acquisition of Abraxis BioScience Inc. last year, while revenue soared 40%.
Sales of the Summit, N.J., drug maker's blood cancer treatments remained strong and the results were mostly in line with preliminary results released earlier this month. Sales of its drugs, led by Revlimid's use in multiple myeloma, were driven by gains in market share, increased duration of treatment by patients, entrance into new countries and wider insurance coverage for the drugs.
Sales of Revlimid rose 42% to $708 million in the period from a year ago.
Earlier this month, Celgene filed for approval in newly diagnosed patients and as a maintenance therapy in Europe, where the company is hoping to expand its use. The wider approval in the region is important because off-label use of the drug isn't as common in Europe as it is in the U.S.
Celgene said it plans to submit an application for Revlimid's use in new patients with the FDA this year. It also plans to begin a trial of key pipeline drug polalidomide, a follow-up to Revlimid, in already treated patients with the disease before year-end.
Revlimid is a more potent derivative of thalidomide, which Celgene has sold as Thalomid since 1998. Thalomid sales dropped 16% to $91 million. Sales of Vidaza, another blood cancer treatment, rose 20% to $140 million.
As it usually does, Celgene gave its preliminary fourth-quarter results and 2011 outlook at a JPMorgan healthcare conference earlier this month. At the time, the preliminary results were below Wall Street expectations.
In the three months ended Dec. 31, net income fell to $213.6 million, or 45 cents a share, from $254.2 million, or 54 cents a share. Excluding items, earnings were 73 cents a share, in line with analyst estimates.
Revenue rose 40% to $1.07 billion, slightly above analyst views of $1.04 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.
Research and development expenses for the year rose sharply to $327.5 million in the quarter from $201.7 million a year ago.
The increase comes from related costs from the Abraxis deal, including from some operations that will be divested, and multiple clinical development programs in its product pipeline.
Celgene closed its $2.9 billion acquisition of Abraxis BioScience late last year. The deal is part of an effort to expand beyond its strength in blood cancer treatments by increasing its presence overseas and pushing into treating other cancers with Abraxane, which is a form of chemotherapy.
Earlier this month, Celgene disclosed that Abraxane didn't show statistical significance in expanding progression-free survival in lung cancer in interim results of a clinical trial.
The company believes the results will still support the submission of an application to the Food and Drug Administration in the second half of 2011.
In the wake of the Abraxis deal, Celgene is looking to accelerate sales of Abraxane in treating breast cancer. The company said Thursday that it will complete enrollment in a number of trials studying the drug in other cancers this year, including pancreatic, skin, prostate, and bladder and ovarian.
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