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Celgene, ResMed And Biogen Among Medical News Makers

Celgene (CELG) met recently raised fourth-quarter earnings forecasts but sales came up a little short. It was one of several notable medical stocks reporting quarterly results or product news Thursday.

The biotech's sales rose 14% vs. a year earlier to $1.42 billion, a bit short of analysts' consensus of $1.46 billion. Sales of lead product Revlimid, a treatment for blood cancer, rose 17% to $1 billion, a hair below estimates, with most of the shortfall coming from overseas. Breast-cancer drug Abraxane also disappointed, with just 3% growth, but the main story on that drug remains its potential new indications, such as pancreatic cancer.

On the bright side, its second biggest seller, Vidaza, beat expectations by rising 14% to $216 million.

Down But Not Out

Profit rose 26% to $1.32 a share, matching raised estimates. Celgene affirmed the guidance it offered earlier this month that sent the stock to new highs, which in 2013 calls for 11% sales growth to $6 billion and 13% EPS growth to $5.50 to $5.60.

Celgene shares edged down less than 1% Thursday, but the stock has surged more than 24% so far this year.

Device maker ResMed (RMD) delivered a solid beat in its fiscal Q2 report after the market close. Profit rose 26% over the 2011 quarter to 53 cents a share, surpassing estimates by 2 cents. Sales rose 13% to $376.5 million, nearly $12 million above consensus.

The Americas led the way with a 16% sales gain, CEO Peter Farrell said in a statement. He added that "we believe we are in the early stages of an exciting market dynamic for sleep-disordered breathing," with ResMed's sleep-apnea devices offered along with information technology that helps diagnose and monitor patients.

ResMed shares rose 6% after hours. In regular trading, the stock hit a new high intraday, closing up less than 1%. It's gained more than 67% over the last 12 months.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) rose nearly 3% after earnings topped views, though they still fell 11% vs. a year earlier to 47 cents. Sales fell 23% to $4.2 billion vs. analysts' view of $4.1 billion.

The big pharma offered 2013 guidance in line with expectations. Sales are expected to decline to $16.2 billion to $17 billion, from $17.6 billion last year. The EPS range was set at $1.78 to $1.88 vs. $1.99 last year.

Bristol's EPS beat was largely due to an unexpectedly low tax rate, ISI Group analyst Mark Schoenebaum noted in an email to clients. That low rate was also projected into 2013 guidance, offsetting higher-than-expected operating expenses. "We believe that some, but probably not all, of these tax benefits are sustainable over the longer term — and this will have a big impact on our model," he wrote.

Baxter International (BAX) also gave a mixed report. Revenue rose 4% to $3.8 billion, topping analysts' estimate of $3.72 billion. EPS met estimates by rising 6% to $1.26.

Baxter guided Q1 below views on the top and bottom lines, however. It forecast 2% to 3% sales growth vs. analysts' 3.8% and EPS of $1.03 to $1.05 vs. analysts' view of $1.10. Baxter said completing the Gambro acquisition in midyear will whack 10 to 15 cents off 2013 EPS, but sales will grow a stronger-than-expected 10%.

Baxter also announced it's acquiring a compound called OBI-1 from bankrupt Inspiration BioPharmaceuticals. Baxter is already a dominant player in hemophilia, but OBI-1 targets a rare variant called acquired hemophilia A, which doesn't manifest until adulthood.

Baxter shares closed 2% higher.

Meanwhile, Biogen Idec (BIIB) offered some nonearnings news as it reported success in a late-stage trial of one of its multiple-sclerosis drugs. The drug is a longer-acting version of Avonex, Biogen's pegylated interferon product. Normally this is injected at least once a week, but the new product succeeded with injections only once or twice a month. Biogen said it will file for FDA approval this year.

Schoenebaum said this product will "help the company retain share in a class of drugs (interferons) that will surely contract meaningfully over the next decade." A new class of oral medicines is expected to displace many of the old injectables, with Biogen's own BG-12 a potential leader if it's approved later this quarter.

Biogen shares rose 2%.