Amgen says it expects pandemic to limit sales through 2021 Reuters via

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An Amgen sign is seen at the company’s office in South San Francisco, California October 21, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

By Deena Beasley

(Reuters) – U.S. biotech Amgen Inc (NASDAQ:) on Tuesday said its second-quarter revenue rose 5%, but recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has limited patient interactions with healthcare providers, is expected hit sales for the rest of 2021.

The pandemic “has suppressed the volume of new patients starting treatment, which we expect to continue to impact our business during the second half of the year,” the company said in a statement.

Amgen’s net profit for the quarter fell 73% to 81 cents a share, including a $1.5 billion acquisition-related write off.

Adjusted earnings, helped by share buybacks, rose 4% from a year earlier to $4.38 per share, beating the $4.10 forecast by Wall Street analysts, as calculated by Refinitiv.

The results “look generally straightforward,” but the commentary on the pandemic “will moderate enthusiasm,” Jefferies (NYSE:) analyst Michael Yee said in an emailed comment.

Amgen shares, which rose 1.8% to close at $244.08, were trading slightly lower at $243.77 after hours.

Revenue of $6.5 billion was in line with analyst estimates of $6.46 billion, as an 8% increase in unit sales volumes was partially offset by a 5% drop in net selling prices.

Amgen said previously that 2021 net selling prices for its drugs would fall by the mid-single digits due to increased competition, including from cheaper generics and biosimilars.

For the full year, Amgen said it still expects adjusted earnings of $16.00 to $17.00 per share on revenue of $25.8 billion to $26.6 billion.

But the company lowered its 2021 net earnings estimate to $8.84 to $9.90 per share from its prior view of $9.11 to $10.71, and said share repurchases will be at the upper end of its previous estimate of $3 to $5 billion.

“This will raise eyebrows a bit given they typically raise guidance for the second half of the year,” Yee said.

Second-quarter sales of Amgen’s rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel fell 8% to $1.1 billion, in line with analyst estimates.

Sales of newer migraine drug Aimovig fell 16% from a year earlier to $82 million, short of the $95 million projected by analysts. Sales of cholesterol fighter Repatha rose 43% to $286 million, but it too missed Wall Street estimates of $299 million.