After topping Q1 estimates, Valeant hikes guidance on Salix buy

Following the fold-in of its recent $11.1 billion pickup of Salix Pharmaceuticals, on Wednesday, Valeant ($VRX) raised both its profit and revenue forecasts for the year. But things are already looking good for the Canadian drugmaker, which topped analyst estimates in both categories for Q1.

EPS for the period increased to 21 cents a share, the Quebec-based company said, while non-GAAP EPS of $2.36 beat out the company's own $2.30 per share prediction. Revenue, for its part, shot up 16% to reach $2.19 billion, surpassing the $2.15 billion analysts expected, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Importantly for Valeant, same-store sales organic growth leapt by 15%, with a boost from launch of brands including Jublia, Luzu and Ultra Contact Lens. In the wake of a bitter, and failed, takeover battle with Allergan--which attacked the company's business model for months before ultimately joining hands with Actavis ($ACT)--Valeant has been pledging some amped-up marketing activity for those products and others to show it's not reliant on its signature M&A.

With that in mind--as well as the $1 billion in revenue it said Salix would generate--the company pegged per-share 2015 earnings at $10.90 to $11.20--an update on the previously forecast $10.10 to $10.40 range. Valeant also expects revenue of $10.4 billion to $10.6 billion, up from guidance of $9.2 billion to $9.3 billion.

Anne Whitaker

And to help it hit that top-line goal, Valeant will have Sanofi's ($SNY) former North American pharma president, Anne Whitaker, on hand. She'll be leaving the CEO spot at Synta Pharmaceuticals ($SNTA) to join Valeant's executive ranks in the role of EVP and group chairman.

CEO J. Michael Pearson touted Whitaker's accomplishments in a statement, pointing in particular to her marketing and commercial management experience in GI and oncology--areas Valeant is foraying into with its recent pickups of Salix and the assets of bankrupt cancer vaccine maker Dendreon ($DNDN). Both integrations are nearly complete, Valeant said, pointing to the $500 million in run rate synergies it anticipates by the end of Q2.

Valeant CFO Howard Schiller

The appointment of Whitaker wasn't the company's only big Wednesday personnel announcement, either. CFO Howard Schiller--who helped grow the company's market cap from $14 billion to nearly $70 billion--will be stepping down once Valeant taps his replacement, the drugmaker said.

- read Valeant's Q1 release
- see the Schiller and Whitaker announcements
- get more from The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)

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