Eylea expected to keep delivering for Regeneron as Praluent starts to step up

Eye blockbuster Eylea has been churning out serious revenue growth for Regeneron ($REGN) since it hit the market, and now the company is inching closer to approval for its much-watched PCSK9 therapy. But what comes after that for the New York biotech? Analysts disagree.

The drugmaker is working on meds in the oncology, cardiovascular, metabolic and inflammatory fields, but as Robert W. Baird analyst Robert Skorney told Investor's Business Daily, there's "nothing to call out" after the forthcoming next-gen cholesterol fighter, dubbed Praluent.

That drug may wind up beating out Eylea sales-wise--it could reach "several billion" dollars, Skorney said--but it may take some time. While an advisory committee panel last month recommended Praluent for FDA approval in high-risk patients, it didn't seem too keen on giving it a green-light in statin-intolerant patients--a much broader population--at least until further study results come out.

Plus, a rival drug from Amgen ($AMGN), Repatha, is also likely headed for FDA approval this summer, and Cowen & Co. analysts say it could win an expanded label before Praluent does. All things considered, they see sales of Regeneron's therapy growing to $900 million in 2018 from $100 million this year, IBD reports.

Regeneron CEO Len Schleifer

Luckily for CEO Len Schleifer's company, Eylea is showing no signs of slowing down. In this year's first quarter, it raked in $541 million--a 51% increase over last year's Q1. And while most of those sales come from the drug's original indication--as a treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration--it now also leads the market in diabetic macular edema after receiving an FDA nod in that area last year.

Regeneron's hot seller should have revenue growing 32% this year to $3.7 billion, with EPS rising 12% this year and 20% next year, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, IBD notes.

And JPMorgan's Corey Kasimov, for one, has tabbed sarilumab, an RA candidate, and dupilumab, an atopic dermatitis and asthma candidate, as other pipeline products that could step up.

Investors agree with that assessment, Michael Aberman, Regeneron's senior VP of strategy, told IBD. They believe dupilumab "is the next big one after Praluent."

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