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Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s (REGN - Analyst Report) first quarter 2013 earnings (excluding special items but including stock-based compensation) of $1.30 per share breezed past the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.06. The company earned 15 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. Higher revenues boosted earnings in the first quarter of 2013.

Total revenue in the reported quarter soared 89.7% to $440 million, driven by strong sales of eye drug, Eylea. This was the fifth full quarter of the drug in the market. The drug was launched in the US in Nov 2011 for treating patients suffering from the neovascular form of age-related macular degeneration. In Sep 2012, the label of the drug was successfully expanded to treat patients suffering from macular edema following central retinal vein occlusion.

Revenues handsomely beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $419 million. Total revenue included net product sales, collaboration revenue, technology licensing revenue and other revenue.

The Quarter in Detail

Net product sales jumped to $319 million in the first quarter of 2013 from $128 million a year ago. Eylea sales came in at $314 million in the reported quarter, up 13.8% sequentially. Sales of Arcalyst accounted for the balance.

Moreover, Zaltrap was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in Aug 2012 as a combination therapy for treating patients suffering from metastatic colorectal cancer, who are either resistant to or whose disease has progressed following treatment with an oxaliplatin-containing regimen. Zaltrap was approved for the metastatic colorectal cancer indication in the EU in Feb 2013. Regeneron co-developed Zaltrap with Sanofi (SNY - Analyst Report).

As per the terms of the agreement, both companies share profits and losses from commercialization of the drug excluding Japan, where Regeneron receives a royalty on sales. As per Sanofi, sales of Zaltrap were $14 million in the first quarter of 2013.

Collaboration revenues came in at $114 million, up 17.5%.  Revenues from technology licensing remained flat at $5.9 million. Other revenues accounted for the balance in the reported quarter.

Both research and development (R&D) expenses and selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses were on the upswing during the reported quarter.

The increase in R&D expenses was primarily attributable to the company’s efforts to develop its pipeline. Higher costs related to the marketing of Eylea were primarily responsible for pushing the SG&A costs up.

Ophthalmology Portfolio Expanded

In a separate development, Regeneron announced it has broadened its ophthalmology portfolio by acquiring full exclusive rights to two families of novel antibodies invented at Regeneron from Sanofi. The candidates were previously included in Regeneron's antibody collaboration with Sanofi.

Regeneron, a biopharmaceutical company, carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) in the short run. Celgene Corporation (CELG - Analyst Report) and Medivation, Inc. (MDVN - Analyst Report) too carry Zacks Rank #2 in the biopharma space.

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