Celgene on track for $21B-plus by 2020, execs say, as they unveil 2017 guidance

Celgene on Monday reported a 2016 EPS beat and rolled out its guidance for 2017.

With big expectations around the Big Biotech heading into the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Celgene on Monday reported street-beating 2016 earnings and rolled out a revenue growth forecast for 2017 of 18%. And for those keeping track, the company said it's on its way to hitting a 2020 revenue goal of $21 billion-plus.

That's a big leap from the company's unaudited 2016 results, unveiled Monday. Celgene totted up $11.18 billion in sales, a 22% increase over 2015, but slightly short of analyst estimates of $11.21 billion. Revlimid grew 20% to nearly $7 billion in sales, while Pomalyst swelled 33% to $1.3 billion and Otezla soared 116% to sales just over $1 billion.

Celgene’s 2016 earnings per share came in at $5.94, slightly above consensus estimates of $5.92.

As for this year, Celgene expects 2017 revenue to hit between $13 billion and $13.4 billion, with the midpoint coming in at analysts’ consensus estimates of $13.2 billion. That figure is an 18% increase year-over-year. The company said it's looking for earnings of $7.10 to $7.25 per share, above consensus estimates of $7.08.

Evercore ISI analyst John Scotti noted Tuesday that, going into 2017, Celgene is optimistic about Revlimid and Abraxane as growth drivers. With Otezla, the company's oral anti-inflammatory drug, it's “focused on access, especially in pre-biologics patients … and expects to announce deals to that effect soon,” he wrote.

Celgene said it expects Revlimid sales of $8 billion to $8.3 billion this year. And it expects blockbuster or blockbuster-plus performance from three others: $1.6 billion for Pomalyst, $1.5 to $1.7 billion for Otezla and $1 billion for Abraxane.

During their JPM presentation, Celgene top brass and CEO Mark Alles talked up their many collaborations and partnerships, including a deal with troubled biotech Juno Therapeutics, whose Rocket trial testing a CAR-T therapy remains suspended after a series of patient deaths. Celgene didn’t show signs of backing out of its CAR-T deal with Juno; rather, executives called it an “aspiration collaboration” over a ten-year period.

The company reaffirmed its belief that it’ll exceed 2020 revenue of $21 billion and EPS of $13. That’s based off “existing products alone,” Scotti noted, but Celgene has multiple phase 3 readouts in the next two years that could provide further growth beyond 2020 if the studies read positively.

Scotti noted that the company traded slightly down after its forecast announcement because expectations were high headed into JPM. While the company's shares fell 3% in 2016, Celgene actually performed the best among rivals its size, an EP Vantage analysis recently found.

Celgene execs didn’t discuss M&A plans for the upcoming year; they did, however, briefly mention that Celgene could consider expanding into neurology.

FierceBiotech Editor Ben Adams contributed to this report.