It was a busy week in the biotech sector with quite a few major companies reporting second quarter earnings. Outperformers included companies like Biogen (BIIB) and Gilead (GILD) – both reported impressive numbers that sailed past expectations.
Meanwhile, a company that stood out last week among the outperformers is Puma Biotechnology (PBYI) thanks to positive top-line data on its late-stage experimental cancer treatment.
Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories
1. Gilead’s second quarter results were way above expectations thanks to the continued impressive performance of hepatitis C virus (:HCV) treatment, Sovaldi. Sovaldi contributed $3.48 billion to second quarter revenues, accounting for more than half of total revenues in the reported quarter. For the first time, Gilead provided revenue guidance including the impact of Sovaldi.
Meanwhile, in addition to reporting impressive second quarter results, Gilead could very well have another blockbuster in its hands in the form of Zydelig which gained FDA approval for three types of cancer (Read more: Gilead Crushes Q2 Earnings Estimates as Sovaldi Sales Soar).
2. Another biotech company that came out with results that shot past expectations by a wide margin is Biogen. Biogen’s results too were driven by the impressive performance of one of its more recent offerings – oral multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment Tecfidera.
According to Biogen, Tecfidera, which is already the leading oral MS therapy in the U.S., is on track to be the leading MS therapy in the U.S. Biogen upped its earnings and revenue guidance significantly – this is the second time this year that the company raised its outlook (Read more: Biogen's Q2 Earnings Surpass Expectations, Tecfidera Shines).
3. AbbVie also reported strong results with Humira remaining the growth driver. With AbbVie’s dependence on Humira having been a source of concern, the upcoming acquisition of UK-based Shire bodes well for the company. This acquisition will not only lead to lower taxes, AbbVie’s product portfolio and pipeline will also get a boost (Read more: AbbVie Q2 Earnings Top on Humira Sales, Shire In Focus).
4. Celgene’s (CELG) second quarter results were also better-than-expected and the company raised its guidance as well. The key growth driver was cancer drug, Revlimid, which brought in sales of $1.2 billion (Read more: Celgene Beats Q2 Earnings Estimates on Strong Revlimid Sales).
5. Puma Biotechnology’s shares skyrocketed a whopping 295% on positive data from late-stage study on its experimental breast cancer treatment, PB272 (neratinib). A 33% improvement in disease free survival was observed compared to placebo. With the positive data, Puma is in a position to file for approval in the first half of 2015 (Read more: Puma Biotech Surges on Positive Results on Neratinib).
Last week, Biogen led the major biotechs with its price increasing 12.53% on its strong second quarter performance and improved outlook. Gilead’s shares were up 4.10%. Alexion was the biggest loser, with shares declining 2.49%, followed by Vertex (down 2.23%). However, Alexion was the biggest gainer over the last six months (up 22.47%). The NASDAQ Biotechnology Index was up 0.51% last week (See the last biotech stock roundup here: AbbVie's Tax Inversion, Amgen Drug Scores in Phase 3).
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