On heels of Juno deal, Celgene reports volume-driven growth in 2017 led by stalwart Revlimid

Celgene expects to generate $14.4 billion to $14.8 billion in sales this year, or 12% growth at the midpoint. (Image: Celgene)

Last year was tough for Celgene, what with a late-stage Crohn's disease trial failure and a 2020 guidance cut that rocked share prices in a one-two punch. Despite those struggles, the company grew sales 16% versus 2016, the big biotech reported Thursday, just after reporting a hefty buyout of CAR-T drugmaker Juno Therapeutics. 

Celgene turned in $12.97 billion in 2017 revenues, good enough for 16% growth. Key multiple myeloma drug Revlimid generated $8.18 billion in sales for the year—17% higher than 2016—while its follow-up multiple myeloma medication Pomalyst contributed $1.61 billion, a 23% increase. Sales for psoriasis drug Otezla, competing with some formidable rivals, came in at $1.28 billion.   

According to slides Celgene released Thursday, volume increases contributed 13.6% of the company's sales growth for the year, while price hikes boosted the company's top line by 3.3%. Currency factors contributed nearly 1%.

For 2018, Celgene is aiming for $14.4 billion to $14.8 billion, or 12% growth at the midpoint. The company expects $9.4 billion in Revlimid sales for the year, which will keep that drug near the top of the global sales rankings. Pomalyst should bring in $1.9 billion this year, according to Celgene, while Otezla is expected to account for $1.5 billion in sales. 

The company pre-announced its results in early January, so there wasn't a lot of surprise among analysts in their coverage of the results Thursday. SunTrust analyst Yatin Suneja characterized the fourth quarter as a "good quarter," boosted by Otezla's volume gains in the U.S. and internationally.  

Still, confirmation is good, particularly after the troubles that hit in the second half of last year, Leerink's Geoff Porges wrote. The "largely in-line results came after the company pre-reported earlier in the month but investors will probably view this confirmation positively after the fallout of Q3 and the recent business development activity."

RELATED: Celgene confirms $9B Juno buyout, sees $3B sales for JCAR017 

Back in October, the drugmaker reported a damaging Crohn's disease trial failure for Otezla that sent shares downward. Days later, the company slashed its 2020 guidance by $1 billion to $2 billion partially due to competitive factors limiting Otezla's potential. Around the same time, Celgene aggressively hiked prices on Revlimid and Pomalyst, taking their cumulative increases for the year to 19.8% and 17.7%, respectively, according to an analyst. 

Looking ahead, Celgene just this week inked its $9 billion buyout of CAR-T player Juno Therapeutics, which positions the company among the leaders in that emerging field. Celgene believes Juno's lead drug can generate $3 billion in peak sales, but the biotech still trails Novartis and Gilead as both of those drugmakers are already marketing their respective CAR-T therapies.

All told, Celgene says its late stage pipeline could add $16 billion in revenues by 2030.