Thousand Oaks-based biotech giant Amgen reported only a slight increase in profits in the fourth quarter, but said one new drug in its pipeline looks promising.
Amgen’s net income inched up 1 percent to $931 million in the fourth quarter, compared to $925 million in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue for the quarter increased 2 percent to $3.81 billion. Reported earnings were 92 cents per share in the most recent quarter, compared to 87 cents per share in 2008.
The company pinned its lackluster earnings on tepid sales of formerly-lucrative drugs such as Aranesp, Neupogen and Enbrel.
Worldwide sales of anemia drug Aranesp decreased 8 percent to $648 million in the fourth quarter. In the U.S., sales of the drug dropped 20 percent to $288 million — a sharp decline the company blamed on a decrease in demand and lower prices. Sales of Aranesp suffered after research linked it to an increased risk of stroke in some patients.
Sales of Neupogen, a treatment for some of the side effects of chemotherapy, and Enbrel, an arthritis treatment, remained relatively unchanged.
But Amgen did report some bright spots.
Worldwide sales of Epogen, another anemia treatment, increased 9 percent to $703 million in the most recent quarter, growth the company attributed to an increase in the market for the product, larger dosage sizes and higher prices.
Sales of Sensipar, a treatment for elevated parathyroid hormone levels, increased 12 percent to $171 million.
Amgen is currently seeking Food and Drug Administration approval for Prolia, also known as denosumab. Although the FDA has said that it will not consider approval for the bone-loss treatment without further information from the company, Amgen has pinned high hopes on Prolia’s prospects for future profits.
“We delivered solid performance in 2009 and look forward to growing our top and bottom line meaningfully in 2010,” Kevin Sharer, Amgen’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We are ready and look forward to launching denosumab worldwide this year.”
The company said it expects total revenue for 2010 to come in at between $15.1 billion and $15.5 billion and adjusted earnings per share to be between $5.05 and $5.25.
Amgen’s stock closed at $55.71 on Jan. 25, down 1.6 percent.