Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALXN): New Analyst Report from Zacks Equity Research - Zacks Equity Research Report
We are reverting to a Neutral recommendation on Alexion as we believe that the stock is fairly valued at current levels. Alexion's first quarter adjusted earnings of $1.41 per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by $0.32 and the year-ago figure by 143%. The company's revenues jumped 67% in the quarter to $566.6 million. Results were driven by strong Soliris sales for the PNH and aHUS indications. The company also upped its earnings guidance to the range of $4.75 to $4.85 per share. Growth at Alexion is expected to be driven by strong Soliris sales. Alexion expects several product approvals in the coming years. Successful development and commercialization of these candidates will reduce the company's dependence on Soliris for growth.
Based in Cheshire, CT, Alexion Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company formed in 1992. The company focuses on the development and commercialization of life-transforming drugs for treating patients suffering from ultra-rare disorders.
Alexion's only marketed product is Soliris (eculizumab). Soliris is available in the U.S, EU, Japan and many other countries for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). PNH is a rare genetic blood disorder characterized by the onset of severe hemolytic anemia, chronic fatigue and intermittent episodes of dark colored urine, known as hemoglobinuria. Currently, Soliris is the only drug available for the treatment of PNH patients. In Sep 2011, the FDA granted accelerated approval to Soliris for treating children and adults suffering from atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), an ultra-rare genetic disorder. Regular approval came in May 2014.
In Nov 2011, approval for the drug was granted in the EU. Japanese approval for the aHUS indication came in Sep 2013. Soliris is being studied for additional indications. The drug recorded sales of $1.55 billion in 2013, up 37%.
Alexion currently has several candidates in clinical development focusing on different areas. The company is also working on expanding Soliris' label into additional indications like Shiga-toxin producing e. coli hemolytic uremic syndrome, neuromyelitis optica and myasthenia gravis.
Alexion's pipeline also includes asfotase alfa (hypophosphatasia), ALXN 1101 (molybdenum cofactor deficiency type A) and ALXN1007 (inflammatory disorders). Asfotase alfa was added to Alexion's pipeline following its 2012 acquisition of Enobia Pharma for up to $1.08 billion in cash. Alexion expects to launch seven products through 2018.
Alexion is making constant efforts to expand. Towards fulfilling this objective, the company inked a deal with privately held Moderna Therapeutics in Jan 2014 for the discovery and development of messenger ribo nucleic acid (mRNA) therapeutics to treat patients suffering from rare diseases. The Enobia acquisition, mentioned above, was another move towards the fulfillment of the same objective.
In Feb 2011, Alexion purchased the patents and assets of Germany-based Orphatec Pharmaceuticals for $3 million in cash. The purchase is related to a therapy for a rare genetic disorder that results in severe brain damage and can prove to be fatal in newborns. In Jan 2011, Alexion purchased privately held Taligen Therapeutics for an upfront cash payment of $111 million. With the Taligen acquisition, Alexion acquired ophthalmic candidates, including candidates for treating patients suffering from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), in addition to other candidates to combat inflammatory diseases.
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