Amgen 1Q Profit Eases, But Adjusted EPS Tops Views

Despite strong demand for its osteoporosis drug and other recently introduced products, Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) revealed late Wednesday a slightly weaker first-quarter profit on higher expenses.

The Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based biotech company posted net income of $1.26 billion, or $1.34 a share excluding items, compared with $1.28 billion, or $1.30 a share, in the same quarter last year, topping the Street’s view of $1.29.

Revenue for the maker of therapeutics in supportive cancer care, nephrology and inflammation was $3.71 billion, up 3% from $3.6 billion a year ago, ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of $3.69 billion.

“We had solid revenue growth in the first quarter,” Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer said in a statement, noting the company’s osteoporosis drug Prolia continues to build momentum and XGEVA, a drug used for the prevention of skeletal-related events in patients with bone metastases from solid tumors, is off to a strong start.

Total product sales were $3.62 billion during the quarter compared with $3.53 billion in the year-earlier period, led by a 4% improvement in the U.S. that more than offset a 1% decline in its international markets. Sales of its anemia treatments Aranesp and Epogen fell 7% and 14%, respectively, during the quarter.

Further offsetting revenue gains, cost of sales climbed about 15% during the period because of higher bulk material costs and the recently enacted Puerto Rico excuse tax. Research and development and selling, general and administrative expenses widened 14% and 16%, respectively.

Despite the higher costs and modestly improved sales, the company reaffirmed its fiscal revenue guidance in the range of $15.1 billion to $15.5 billion with earnings in the range of $5 to $5.20 a share. Analysts are looking for fiscal 2011 earnings of $5.15 a share on revenue of $15.24 billion.