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Alexion (ALXN) Tops Q1 Earnings, Merger With AstraZeneca On Track

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Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s (ALXN - Free Report) first-quarter adjusted earnings of $3.52 per share comfortably beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.08 and grew from $3.22 in the year-ago period.

Moreover, revenues rose 13.3% year over year to $1.64 billion for the reported quarter and surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.57 billion. The positive impact of foreign currency on total revenues was less than 1%, inclusive of hedging activities. Revenues were driven by higher sales of Soliris, Ultomiris and Strensiq.

Shares of Alexion have gained 9.2% so far this year compared with the industry’s 2% decline.

Revenues in Detail

Soliris (approved for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria [PNH], atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome [aHUS] and generalized myasthenia gravis [gMG]) sales were up 0.5% year over year to $1027.6 million for the reported quarter.

Long-acting C5 complement inhibitor, Ultomiris — approved for the treatment of adult patients with PNH and aHUS — generated sales of $346.9 million compared with $222.8 million in the year-ago quarter, representing an 56% increase.

Strensiq revenues were $197.5 million (up 15% year over year). Kanuma contributed $34.8 million (up 30% year over year) to quarterly revenues.

Cost Summary

Adjusted research and development expenses increased to $267 million from $185.7 million in the year-ago quarter.

Adjusted selling, general and administrative expenses were $292.2 million, up from $259.1 million in the year-ago quarter.

Key Pipeline Updates

The FDA granted priority review for Ultomiris in children and adolescents with PNH and has set a target action date of June 7, 2021.

Enrollment is complete in the late-stage study of Ultomiris in adults with gMG and study results are expected in the second half of 2021.

Enrollment is complete in Alexion’s phase IIII study on Ultomiris in children and adolescents with Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder is underway.

In March 2021, Alexion completed enrollment in the phase III study of Ultomiris in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and results are expected in the first half of 2022.

Merger Update

In December 2021, Alexion entered into a definitive agreement with U.K.-based pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca (AZN - Free Report) , whereby the latter will acquire the former.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition by AstraZeneca and the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.

Our Take

Alexion’s first-quarter results were strong despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zacks Rank & Other Key Picks

Alexion currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). A couple of better-ranked biotech stocks include Repligen Corporation (RGEN - Free Report) and Nabriva Therapeutics (NBRV - Free Report) which carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Earnings estimates for Repligen for 2021 are up 4 cents in the last sixty days .

Loss estimates for Nabriva for 2021 have narrowed by 8 cents in the last sixty days.

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