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Alkermes Maintains Fiscal 2013 View

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Alkermes plc (ALKS - Free Report) recently reaffirmed its view for fiscal 2013 (ending March 31, 2013). The company continues to expect adjusted earnings per share in the range of $0.88-$1.02. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged below the company’s guidance range at 63 cents.

Revenues are still projected in the range of $510 - $540 million. The Zacks Consensus Estimate of $525 million is within the company’s guidance range.

Alkermes also provided an update on its product portfolio and pipeline. Currently, the key marketed products at Alkermes include Risperdal Consta (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), Invega Sustenna (schizophrenia), Vivitrol (opioid and alcohol dependence), Ampyra/Fampyra (improving walking ability in multiple sclerosis patients) and Bydureon (type II diabetes).

Alkermes is optimistic about the growth of Invega Sustenna and Vivitrol going forward. The company with its partner, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) is seeking to expand the label of Invega Sustenna.

Ampyra is marketed in the US by Acorda (ACOR - Free Report) . In ex-US territories Biogen Idec (BIIB - Free Report) markets the product as Fampyra. The drug is manufactured by Alkermes. Recently, Acorda announced that the unaudited total Ampyra sales in calendar 2012 were $266 million, up approximately 26% year over year.

In January 2012, Alkermes received a huge boost with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearing Bydureon for treating patients suffering from type II diabetes. The drug was launched in the US in February. The drug, which targets the lucrative type II diabetes market, represents significant commercial potential for the company.

Apart from the robust product portfolio, Alkermes also boasts a diversified pipeline. Interesting candidates include ALKS 9070/aripiprazole lauroxil (phase III: data expected by the end of calendar 2013) for treating schizophrenia, ALKS 5461 (a combination of ALKS 33 and buprenorphine) for treatment-resistant depression (phase II, data expected in the second quarter of calendar 2013) and ALKS 3831 (phase II expected to be initiated in 2013, with data in 2014) for treating schizophrenia. The successful development and commercialization of these candidates should boost the company’s top line.

We currently have a Neutral recommendation on Alkermes. The stock carries a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold) in short run.

Currently, pharma stocks which look more attractive are Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (VRX - Free Report) and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (IRWD - Free Report) . Both carry a Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy).

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