Celgene’s Otezla on course to become blockbuster

Celgene’s oral psoriasis drug, Otezla (apremilast) looks set to become a blockbuster as sales leapt in Q2.

Sales of Otezla were $242 million in Q2, a 170% increase compared with the corresponding period last year.

Otezla, approved in plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, performed the strongest in the US revenues of $217 million.

US-based Celgene is also developing Otezla in atopic dermatitis and is assessing proof-of-concept data from a completed phase 2 trial, to be announced at a later date.

For now the company’s flagship blood cancer drug, Revlimid (lenalidomide) continues to power ahead, with sales up 18% to $1.7 billion for the quarter.

Celgene revised sales forecasts for Revlimid up slightly, to $6.8 billion for the whole year, although the growth is expected to decelerate – so the strong showing from Otezla will be most welcome.

The company raised its guidance for overall product sales up a notch to $11 billion for 2016 – previous estimates were between $10.75 billion and $11 billion.

Pomalyst/Imnovid (pomalidomide) for myeloma increased 35% to $318 million, although pancreatic cancer drug Abraxane (nab-paclitaxel) struggled to make headway, with sales up 2% to $249 million.

Sales of other drugs including an authorised generic of Vidaza (azacitidine), were $235 million, down from $242 million in last year’s Q2.

Net product sales were up 22% to $2.8 billion, including a 1% hit from currency exchange effects, and net income after tax was $598 million, up from £356 million in last year’s Q2.

CEO Mark Alles, who took over this year, said the results were “outstanding”.

“This strong momentum increases our confidence in our near- and longer-term outlook as we continue to invest in innovative research and the development of transformational therapies for patients worldwide,” he said.

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