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Regeneron Pharma raises sales forecast for Eylea

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (AP) -- Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Friday that sales of its drug Eylea more than doubled in the first quarter, and it raised its sales forecast for the full year.

Regeneron said sales of Eylea, a treatment for the eye conditions "wet" age-related macular degeneration and central retinal vein occlusion, rose to $314 million in the latest quarter from $124 million a year earlier. The drug was first approved in late 2011.

It now expects to report $1.25 billion to $1.33 billion in sales of Eylea in 2013, up from its previous estimate of $1.2 billion to $1.33 billion.

The company said its net income grew to $98.9 million, or 90 cents per share, from $11.7 million, or 11 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue climbed 90 percent, to $439.7 million from $231.8 million.

Analysts had forecast net income of 86 cents per share and $427.9 million in total revenue, according to FactSet.

Shares of Regeneron climbed $17.53, or 7.1 percent, to $266.16 on Friday. The shares are up 24 percent over the last three days and they reached an all-time high of $270 during Friday trading.

The stock got a boost on Wednesday when Allergan Inc. announced a delay in testing of a drug that could eventually compete with Eylea. Allergan said it will run more mid-stage clinical trials of a drug called DARP-in and won't immediately advance the drug into late-stage studies. Allergan said that means approval could come a year or two later than if it had started late-stage testing at the end of 2013.

Regeneron also said it regained the rights to two types of drugs from its partner Sanofi. Regeneron said it will pay the French drugmaker a total of $20 million upfront and up to $45 million in development milestone payments, as well as royalties on sales if any of the drugs are approved for sale. Regeneron regained the all the rights to one drug and regained the right to study the second drug type in ophthalmology.

The companies will continue working together on the second drug group in indications other than ophthalmology.

Sanofi and Regeneron collaborate on Zaltrap, a drug that is approved as a treatment for colorectal cancer. They are also studying treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, "bad" cholesterol and asthma as well as other cancer drugs.

Sanofi is also Regeneron's largest shareholder. It owns about 16.6 percent of the company's shares.