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Amgen Tops Sales and Profit Estimates, Boosts 2016 Forecast

Amgen Inc., boosted by higher drug sales and the effects of a cost-cutting campaign, reported first-quarter revenue and profit that topped analysts’ estimates. The biotechnology giant raised its forecast for the year.

Profit excluding one-time items was $2.90 a share, Amgen said Thursday in a statement, beating the $2.59 average of analysts’ projections compiled by Bloomberg. Its top two drugs also beat analysts’ estimates, with Enbrel sales driven by higher prices and Neulasta boosted by both pricing and higher demand, according to the company.

Amgen reported sales of its new cholesterol treatment, Repatha, for the first time, missing expectations by a large margin. First-quarter sales were $16 million, compared to the average analyst estimate of $30.2 million. The launch has been hindered by stringent restrictions from insurers on which patients can receive the drug, with about 77 percent of prescriptions being denied at the pharmacy, said Tony Hooper, head of global commercial operations, on a conference call to discuss the results.

Revenue this year will total $22.2 billion to $22.6 billion, and earnings before one-time items will be $10.85 to $11.20, the company said. Previously, Amgen had forecast $22 billion to $22.5 billion in sales and...