Amgen Profit Rises Amid Strong Sales

Amgen Inc. (AMGN), the world's largest biotechnology company, on Tuesday said its second-quarter profit rose 47 percent amid strong sales of its anemia, immunity-boosting and arthritis drugs.

The Thousand Oaks, California-based company reported net income of $607 million, or 45 cents a diluted share, compared with $412 million, or 38 cents, a year earlier.

Amgen said it earned 49 cents a share in the second quarter excluding acquisition-related expenses. On that basis, Wall Street analysts on average expected a profit of 46 cents a share, according to Reuters Research, a unit of Reuters Plc.

Amgen said its quarterly product sales rose 72 percent to $1.9 billion. The rise was driven by the acquisition a year ago of Immunex Corp., which gave it the arthritis drug Enbrel (search), as well as higher sales of anemia treatments Epogen (search) and Aranesp (search) and its Neupogen (search) and Neulasta (search) immunity-boosting drugs for chemotherapy patients.

Amgen raised its estimate for full-year 2003 sales to $7.5 million to $8.0 billion from its previous guidance of $7.1 million to $7.6 billion and said total revenue is now projected at $8.0 million to $8.5 billion versus previous guidance of $7.7 million to $8.2 billion.

Quarterly combined sales of Epogen and Aranesp rose 53 percent to $959 million, $348 million of which was from Aranesp.

Epogen is approved for kidney dialysis patients, while Aranesp, a longer-lasting version of the anemia drug, is approved for patients with chronic kidney disease as well as patients on chemotherapy — a market dominated by Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) Procrit.

Sales of Neupogen and its longer-lasting formulation, Neulasta — both used to fight chemotherapy-related infections in cancer patients — rose a combined 34 percent to $634 million.

Sales of Enbrel rose 58 percent to $304 million. Enbrel is already approved for psoriatic arthritis and Amgen has filed for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to market the drug for the chronic skin condition psoriasis.