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EpiPen maker Mylan forecasts strong 2017; shares jump

EpiPen auto-injection epinephrine pens manufactured by Mylan NV pharmaceutical company for use by severe allergy sufferers are seen in Washington, U.S. August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Bourg/File Photo

By Natalie Grover

(Reuters) - EpiPen allergy shot maker Mylan NV (MYL.O) forecast 2017 profit and revenue largely above analysts' estimates on Wednesday, in sharp contrast to downbeat expectations from its rivals, amid pricing pressure in the U.S. generics market.

The generic drugmaker also reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and revenue, boosted by strong demand for drugs acquired through its purchase of Sweden's Meda last year.

Mylan's shares jumped 9 percent to $45.65 in early trading on Wednesday.

The results and forecast should ease pressure on Mylan, which has come under fire for raising the price of EpiPen and classifying the life-saving treatment as a generic rather than a branded product, which led to much smaller rebates to state Medicaid programs.

The company however signaled on Wednesday that the mid-single percentage digit price erosion for generic drugs, that persisted for most of 2016, will likely continue this year as well.

Still, Mylan's report and forecast "paints a more favorable 'generics' picture", RBC Capital analyst Randall Stanicky said.

The company, which announced layoffs and cost-cuts in December, said it expected 2017 adjusted profit of $5.15-$5.55 per share and revenue of $12.25 billion-$13.75 billion.

At the mid-point, Mylan's forecast beat analysts' average expectation for a profit of $5.33 per share and revenue of $12.65 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Mylan stands out as the only generic drugmaker with good numbers that continues to execute well amid disappointing forecasts from peers including Teva Pharma (TEVA.TA) (TEVA.N) and Perrigo Co Plc (PRGO.N), Goldman Sachs analysts said.

Even as the pricing pressure is expected to continue, Mylan is set for a catalyst-rich year in 2017.

The drugmaker expects regulatory decisions on its generic version of GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK.L) top-selling Advair inhaler and two biosimilars. It could also launch a generic version of Teva's blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug, Copaxone 40 mg, if approved.

Mylan said net profit rose to $417.5 million, or 78 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $194.6 million, or 38 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, Mylan earned $1.57 per share, well ahead of analysts' average expectation of $1.42.

Revenue rose 31.2 percent to $3.27 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of $3.17 billion.

(Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Sai Sachin Ravikumar)