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Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s (ALXN - Analyst Report) second-quarter 2013 earnings (excluding special items but including stock-based compensation expense) of 64 cents per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4 cents and the year-ago adjusted earnings by 23 cents per share.

Higher product sales boosted second quarter earnings. Including one-time items, second-quarter 2013 earnings came in at 48 cents per share, up 167%.

Alexion’s revenues jumped 35% to approximately $370.1 million in the second quarter of 2013 driven by strong Soliris sales. Revenues surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $365 million.

Adjusted operating expenses climbed 22.7% to $174.5 million in the second quarter of 2013. The increase was attributable to a rise in both research and development (R&D) expenses (up 12.8%) and selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses (up 29.2%). The increase in R&D expenses was attributable to the company’s efforts to develop its pipeline.

Pipeline Update

Alexion currently has several candidates in clinical development focusing on different areas. The company is also working on expanding Soliris’ label into additional indications like Shiga-toxin producing e. coli hemolytic uremic syndrome, neuromyelitis optica and myasthenia gravis.

Alexion’s pipeline also includes asfotase alfa (hypophosphatasia), ALXN1102/ALXN1103 (hematology) and ALXN1007 (inflammatory disorders). We are impressed by Alexion’s efforts to develop its pipeline.

Guidance Raised

Apart from announcing financial results for the second quarter, Alexion raised its outlook for 2013. The company raised its revenue guidance to $1.520–$1.530 billion from the previous forecast of $1.505–$1.520 billion.

The company also raised its adjusted earnings guidance for 2013 from $2.87–$2.97 per share to $2.97 to $3.02 per share. Soliris should continue performing well, driving growth at Alexion.

Alexion currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Companies like Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ - Analyst Report), Actelion Ltd. (ALIOF) and WuXi PharmaTech (Cayman) Inc. (WX - Snapshot Report) appear to be more attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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