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Alexion Plans to Raise 2020 Sales View, Buy Back $3B Shares

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Shares of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALXN - Free Report) gained after it announced that it plans to raise its annual guidance for 2020 by more than $200 million.

An update on the same will be provided by the company when it releases third-quarter results. The company had earlier provided revenue guidance of $5.5-$5.6 billion for 2020.

Moreover, the company expects to return at least $3 billion to shareholders through a multi-year stock buyback program, through 2023.

Alexion also presented its strategic advancements at its Virtual Investor Day.

The company highlighted its robust pipeline of more than 20 development programs across seven rare-disease franchises, with expected continued growth from more than five novel investigational new drug applications (INDs) by 2025.

The company targets 2025 global revenues of $9-$10 billion and at least 10% revenue compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2025 and beyond.
Alexion has already established its long-acting C5 complement inhibitor, Ultomiris, as the market leader in paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) and is working to make it the new standard of care across the C5 franchise with the recent global atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) launches.

The company is working to explore Ultomiris’ potential further in new indications across a variety of therapeutic areas. These include ongoing phase III studies in generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG), neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Alexion is also developing a third-generation C5 inhibitor, ALXN1720, which was developed with the goal of enabling expansion into new larger rare diseases because of its low-volume subcutaneous administration.

Meanwhile, the company is developing a new biomarker to directly quantify the labile bound copper (LBC) in patients with Wilson disease. Enrollment is complete in a phase III study of ALXN1840 in Wilson disease and the data readout remains on track for the first half of 2021.

Alexion and partner Caelum Biosciences announced the initiation of the phase III program to evaluate CAEL-101, a first-in-class amyloid fibril targeted therapy, in combination with standard-of-care (SoC) therapy in AL amyloidosis.

The company’s shares have gained 7.4% in the year so far compared with the industry’s flat performance.

 

It is looking to diversify its portfolio and reduce dependence on its blockbuster drug, Soliris, through collaborations.

Soliris maintains momentum and the underlying growth of the drug has been robust for all approved indications — PNH, aHUS and refractory gMG. Moreover, the FDA approved Soliris to treat NMOSD.  Also, it recently acquired Achillion Pharmaceuticals to fortify its PNH franchise.

It has also inked collaborations to diversify its pipeline. Earlier, Alexion obtained an exclusive license from BridgeBio Pharma, Inc.’s (BBIO - Free Report) subsidiary, Eidos Therapeutics, Inc. (EIDX - Free Report) , to develop and commercialize AG10 in Japan. Eidos is currently evaluating AG10 in a phase III study in the United States and Europe for ATTR cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM) and plans to begin a phase III study in ATTR polyneuropathy (ATTR-PN) in the second half of 2020.

Alexion currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock in the biotech space is Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ (VRTX - Free Report) , which carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).  You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Vertex’s earnings per share estimates have increased 2 cents for 2020 and 7 cents for 2021 in the past 60 days.

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