Novo, Teva, Shire, Actavis and Mylan post Q1 growth as Endo gets pummeled

Earnings were kind to many of pharma's midsize players between Wednesday and Thursday, with several drugmakers--Endo ($ENDP) excluded--posting growth. But not all of those companies reaped the sales they expected to, with Novo Nordisk ($NVO) and Teva ($TEVA) falling into that category. Big changes may be in store, however, at least for a few of them--Shire ($SHPG) and Mylan ($MYL), for two, may soon find themselves in the middle of pharma's recent M&A storm.

Novo Nordisk

Novo may be a victim of its own success. After notching double-digit sales growth every quarter for 12 years--that's 48 straight quarters, for those keeping score--the Danish drugmaker couldn't maintain its streak, reporting a top-line swell of just 7%. The company also cut its sales forecasts for the year to gains of 7% to 10%, down from the 8% to 11% it predicted in January. That's thanks to two lost managed care contracts with Express Scripts ($ESRX), which excluded Victoza and NovoLog from its 2014 national formulary. Victoza hauled in 2.92 billion Danish crowns ($542.4 million) for the quarter, trailing the 3.07 billion Reuters analysts expected. Release | Report (sub. req.) | More


After an exceptionally rocky close to 2013, Teva's 2014 Q1 numbers showed some hope for the future. Under the new leadership of CEO Erez Vigodman, the Israeli company generated profits excluding some costs of $1 billion, increasing from $960 million in the year-ago quarter to edge analyst estimates. Sales hit below predictions, coming in at $5 billion instead of the expected $5.12 billion, but they rose 2% overall, and generic drug revenue increased 3%. The company also presented positive numbers for the longer-acting version of top-seller Copaxone; the new drug has captured about 11% of the U.S. multiple sclerosis market, the company said, giving the pair a 34% hold. Release | Report | More


Shire, recently the subject of much takeover talk thanks to its Irish address and the associated tax advantages, thumped expectations with a 38% rise in first-quarter earnings that tallied $2.36 per share. That drove the company to hike its outlook to mid-to-high 20% growth, up from its previously expected 23%. Revenue measured $1.35 billion, with sales leaping 80% for Firazyr, one of the rare disease products Shire is touting as it diversifies beyond its legacy ADHD franchise. That could serve to increase Shire's takeover appeal, and the company already looks pretty good to Allergan ($AGN). Seeking to avoid being acquired itself after a hostile bid from Valeant ($VRX) and partner Bill Ackman, the Botox maker is reportedly preparing its second bid for the company. Release | Report


Actavis ($ACT) may have surprised analysts for Q1, beating out their earnings consensus by 25 cents in part thanks to a strong performance from its generic of Eli Lilly's ($LLY) blockbuster antidepressant Cymbalta. But after putting up profit growth of 75% for the quarter to meet $3.49 a share--as well as a 40% sales gain that topped estimates by 40%--the company will see lower numbers in Q2, CEO Paul Bisaro said. Increased competition to its generic of Endo's Lidoderm painkiller will pull those down; the New Jersey company's 180 days of market exclusivity recently expired. Release | Report | More (sub. req.)


Endo, on the other hand, was not so lucky in the here-and-now, announcing net losses of $436.9 million or $3.41 per share, compared with gains of $15.35 million or 14 cents per share in 2013's Q1. The setback came largely on account of a $625 million charge to bump up the company's product liability for all vaginal mesh cases, past, present and future. Endo's AMS subsidiary announced Thursday that it would pay $830 million to settle 20,000 cases, a "substantial majority" of those outstanding claims. Pharma sales took a hit, too, diving 35% on generic competition to Lidoderm, whose sales plummeted 82%. Release | Report


Mylan may be chasing a merger, worried about being left behind as its peers engage in a flurry of dealmaking; Sweden's Meda recently rebuffed its second offer, a bid worth 43.8 billion kronor ($6.7 billion). But at least for now, things look sound at the generic drugmaker, whose strong sales fueled an 8.4% earnings jump in Q1. A top-line tally of $1.72 billion surpassed analysts' predicted $1.77 billion; operations in India and increased sales from Mylan's antiretroviral franchise partially powered that performance, CEO Heather Bresch said in a statement. Release | Report (sub. req.)

Special Report: Top 10 generics makers by 2012 revenue - Teva - Mylan - Actavis