That's some reimbursement deal: Alexion hikes EPS, sales forecast on French agreement

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Here's what a successful negotiation with a government payer will get you: An 18% hike in your earnings forecast, about $150 million in additional sales, and a quick spike in share price. That's what Alexion ($ALXN) yielded from a new reimbursement deal with France on its pricey rare-disease treatment Soliris.

The new deal not only "positively impacts" current reimbursement for the drug, which is approved in France to treat atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) and paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). It also includes retroactive payments to the tune of $88 million.

Alexion didn't offer more specifics. But together, the changes prompted Alexion to boost its EPS forecast to $4.37 to $4.47 from $3.70 to $3.80. Sales-wise, the company expects a boost to $2.15 billion to $2.17 billion, up from $2 billion to $2.02 billion.

The success in France follows a smackdown last week in the U.K., where cost-effectiveness gatekeepers lauded Soliris' benefits to patients but demanded justification for its price. In the U.S., Soliris runs $440,000 or more, making it the costliest drug in the world.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) kept Alexion's proposed U.K. price confidential at the company's request but quoted £340,200 per year, or about $569,000, in its discussion about its costs to the National Health Service. NICE figures the drug would cost the NHS £58 million per year at first and £82 million within 5 years.

Soliris brought in $1.55 billion last year, and it's expected to hit $3.4 billion by 2018. It's up for review at NICE as a treatment for aHUS. In the U.S., as in France, it's also approved for PNH.

- see the Alexion release

Special Reports: Top 20 orphan drugs by 2018 - Soliris | 20 highest-paid biopharma CEOs of 2012 - Leonard Bell, Alexion

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