Celgene's powerhouse Revlimid gets a little Q3 help from new friends Pomalyst, Otezla

Celgene's growth engine Revlimid came through again this quarter. The blood cancer drug's $1.3 billion in Q3 sales--a 19% increase--helped the company hit sales estimates and beat profit expectations. And if a new first-line indication wins FDA approval, expected soon, the drug could take another leap next year.

Together with a surge in Abraxane sales, the Revlimid growth prompted Celgene ($CELG) to raise its 2014 forecast: The company hiked earnings expectations to $3.65 to $3.70 per share, up from $3.60 to $3.65. Sales-wise, Celgene is now looking to beat its previous forecast of $7.6 billion.

Even better news for Celgene's long-term prospects is growth in sales of Pomalyst, whose sales doubled to $181 million. The pill, which competes with Amgen's ($AMGN) Kyprolis, was approved last year for multiple myeloma patients who have failed on two previous therapies. It's an add-on for Revlimid, so it's expected to not only bring in its own sales but also boost Revlimid's as well. Of course, both drugs are high-priced--among the 10 most expensive in the world, according to FiercePharma research. That helps.

And then there's Otezla, one of the cancer specialist's newest drugs, this time in the anti-inflammatory field. Approved during the second quarter to treat psoriatic arthritis, the drug pulled in $18 million for its first full quarter on the market.

Plus, the company says, Otezla has nabbed favorable placement on formularies--most of which don't require previous therapy for patients to qualify--and won a new indication for psoriasis patients last month. That's a huge new market, and Otezla is the first in a new generation of treatments to make a debut. Analysts expect the drug to hit $1.3 billion by 2018, but Celgene figures it can peak at $2 billion or more.

Celgene CEO Bob Hugin needs all the fuel he can find to hit his ambitious sales goal: Double last year's sales by 2017, to $13 billion to $14 billion. The road hasn't been without its obstacles, however; U.K. cost-effectiveness gatekeepers last month rejected the company's Abraxane drug, combined with Eli Lilly's ($LLY) Gemzar, for pancreatic cancer.

- see the Celgene release

Special Reports: Top 10 most expensive drugs of 2013 - Pomalyst - Revlimid

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