life sciences

Amgen’s cancer sales to grow in 2012, CEO-to-be reports

Posted 1/10/12

SAN FRANCISCO - Amgen Inc.,the world’s largest biotechnology company with a facility in West Greenwich, will see revenue accelerate this year as sales of its cancer medicines grow and win wider regulatory approval, the next CEO said.

Robert Bradway, the company’s president and chief operating officer, will replace CEO Kevin Sharer, who is retiring, in May. By then, the Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based company is expecting U.S. regulators to have decided whether to expand the use of its drug Xgeva to include preventing or delaying the spread of prostate cancer to bones.

Xgeva, already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reduce fractures in cancer patients, and Prolia, used to treat osteoporosis in menopausal women, exceeded $500 million in revenue in 2011, their first full year on the market, Bradway said Tuesday at JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s annual health-care conference in San Francisco.

Adding a new use for Xgeva “is an important new opportunity,” Bradway said, without specifying how much an approval would add to sales. “The biggest opportunity by far and for us in 2012 is to continue to grow the market.”

Amgen shares have gained 13 percent in the past 12 months, short of the 21 percent jump gained by the Standard and Poor’s Supercomposite Biotechnology Index. The company’s stock fell less than 1 percent to $64.20 at 4 p.m. in New York.

Analysts have said they expect Xgeva sales to reach $1.78 billion by 2014, the average estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Overall revenue will likely increase 3 percent to $16.02 billion this year from $15.51 billion in 2011, the analysts estimated.

Amgen has also sought to protect its former core anemia therapies, Aranesp and Epogen, from further declines and new challengers by locking buyers into long-term contracts.

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