AstraZeneca, Mylan up forecasts for year

The economy hasn't hurt AstraZeneca as much as it anticipated. A couple of lucky breaks--including a delay in generic competition for the cardio drug Toprol XL--helped push second-quarter profits up past analyst estimates to $1.64 per share, excluding some one-time items. Cheered, the company boosted its forecast for the year to $5.70 to $6 per share, up from $5.15 to $5.45.

But the manufacturing troubles that held off generic Toprol XL weren't the only bright spots in AstraZeneca's report. CEO David Brennan (photo) called cholesterol remedy Crestor the "star" of the quarter, while analysts said Seroquel sales came in much higher than expected. Crestor sales leapt by 33 percent, topping $1 billion; while U.S. Seroquel sales grew by 22 percent. "There were a number of one-offs but on an underlying basis there were very good numbers as well," Jefferies International analyst Jeffrey Holford told Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, Mylan also raised its 2009 forecast, predicted that adjusted EPS will come in at $1.13 to $1.20. Sales were stronger than expected, boosted by the generic version of Depakote, the Abbott Laboratories treatment for epilepsy and bipolar disorder. "Every segment except for North America generics posted sales above our estimates," J.P. Morgan analyst Christopher Scott said in a research note (as quoted by Reuters). Overall, revenues rose by 5.3 percent to $1.27 billion.

- read the release from AstraZeneca (pdf)
- get more on AstraZeneca from Reuters
- see the Bloomberg piece
- find Mylan's numbers at Reuters

ALSO: During its earnings release, Mylan again stated that an FDA investigation into possible quality-control problems at its Morgantown, WV, plant had been closed, with no further issues to correct. "The agency was onsite, reviewed the information and concluded the inspection by conducting a closeout meeting on Tuesday," CEO Robert Coury (photo) said during an investor conference call. Report