Eylea boosts Regeneron past estimates; Actelion hikes dividend for waiting investors

Regeneron's Eylea lifted the company past analyst estimates for the 6th quarter in a row.--Courtesy of Regeneron

A duo of new earnings announcements from smaller drugmakers offers a microcosmic view of the Big Pharma results we've seen so far. Generic competition hurts, new drugs need to fill the gap--and a successful drug launch is a thing to behold.

Regeneron ($REGN) illustrates the selling-like-hotcakes phenomenon that every drugmaker wishes for. Its vision-loss drug Eylea lifted the company past analyst estimates for the 6th quarter in a row. Not coincidentally, Eylea has been on the market for almost 6 quarters.

The latest: Q4 sales of $276 million; 2012 sales at $838 million, and 2013 estimates at a 50%-higher $1.2 billion. Total company sales for the year amounted to $1.4 billion, aided by milestones from Sanofi ($SNY) and Bayer HealthCare.

Meanwhile, the Swiss drugmaker Actelion is an example of the company scrambling to prepare for generic competition to its lead drug, and paying off shareholders in the meantime. Tracleer, a pulmonary arterial hypertension treatment, brought in CHF1.5 billion, or about $1.63 billion, for the year.

That's about 87% of the company's 2012 sales--and it goes off patent beginning in 2016. As investors wait to discover whether FDA will approve Tracleer's successor Opsumit, Actelion hiked its dividend and said it's committed to share buybacks, too.

- read the Regeneron release
- get more from Reuters
- see another Reuters article

Special Report: Actelion - The Biggest R&D Spenders in Biotech