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Shares of Celgene Corporation hit a 52-week high of $117.94 in the first half of the trading session on Apr 1, 2013. This biopharmaceutical stock gained significant momentum following the announcement of strong fourth quarter 2012 results, upbeat earnings forecasts for the upcoming years and the US approval of cancer drug Pomalyst.

Moreover, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company has delivered positive earnings surprises in 3 of the last 4 quarters with an average beat of 1.49%. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock is 21.87%.

Strong 4Q and Upbeat Forecasts

Celgene exited 2012 on a strong note. Celgene’s fourth quarter 2012 adjusted earnings of $1.18 per share beat the year-ago earnings by 26.9%. Higher revenues drove earnings in the reported quarter. Total revenue climbed 12.7% to $1.45 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012. Revenues were boosted by the impressive performance of Celgene’s cancer drugs Revlimid, Abraxane and Vidaza.

Celgene also provided an encouraging guidance for 2013. The company expects adjusted earnings per share for 2013 in the range of $5.50–$5.60, up 13% year over year. Net product sales for 2013 are expected to be approximately $6 billion. Celgene also provided an upbeat long-term forecast. The company projects net product sales of $12 billion and adjusted earnings in the range of $13.00–$14.00 for 2017. The string of upbeat forecasts has buoyed the stock.

Pomalyst Approval - A Major Positive

In Feb 2013, Celgene received a boost when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Pomalyst. Pomalyst was approved in the US in combination with low-dose dexamethasone for the treatment of relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma (MM) patients, who have received at least 2 prior therapies. Pomalyst has been approved to treat patients whose cancer has worsened on or within 60 days of the last medication. The approval of Pomalyst has further boosted Celgene’s already strong oncology product portfolio and should augment its top line as the MM market offers significant commercial potential.

Other Stocks to Consider

Apart from Celgene, other pharma stocks with favorable a Zacks Rank include Athersys, Inc. , Cytokinetics, Inc. and Osiris Therapeutics, Inc. . All three stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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