Here's a first: Regeneron cuts forecast after hard-charging Eylea sales miss

Here's something Regeneron ($REGN) isn't used to: Cutting sales forecasts for blockbuster eye drug Eylea. But that's just what the New York biotech did Tuesday amid lower-than-expected third-quarter results.

The Tarrytown-based company took the high end of its 2014 Eylea sales guidance down a notch, adjusting the expected range to $1.7 billion to $1.74 billion from $1.7 billion to $1.8 billion. The blockbuster put up $445 million in U.S. sales for the quarter, registering 23% growth but still falling short of consensus.

Regeneron CEO Len Schleifer

Regeneron is much more accustomed to hiking its predictions, which it's done time and again since the ocular med raced out of the gate in November 2011. In the U.S. alone, it racked up $838 million in its first year, boasting a more convenient dosing regimen and lower price than Roche ($RHHBY) and Novartis' ($NVS) rival therapy, Lucentis. And since then, it's been steamrolling sales-wise, as well as collecting a host of new indications at home and abroad.

That's not to say Eylea had a bad quarter. Sales of the drug still swelled 23%, continuing a streak of double-digit growth. And CEO Len Schleifer was quick to point out in a statement that it's "positioned for continued strong growth given recent approvals" in macular edema following retinal vein occlusion and diabetic macular edema (DME).

But it's the second straight quarter that Regeneron's Eylea guidance has raised eyebrows. Last quarter, Regeneron didn't raise its 2014 guidance for the treatment, despite a 26% sales leap. That's a move that may have ruffled some investors' feathers, Morningstar analyst Stefan Quenneville told Reuters at the time.

This time around, the miss--as well as lower-than-expected adjusted quarterly profit of $2.52 per share, below the average analyst estimate $2.57 per share--pushed shares down 7.6% in premarket trading Tuesday.

- see Regeneron's release
- get more from Reuters
- read FierceBiotech's take

Special Reports: Top 15 drug launch superstars – Eylea | 15 Highest-Paid Biopharma CEOs of 2013 - Leonard "Len" Schleifer - Regeneron

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