Amgen to buy back $6 billion in shares this qtr, provides long-term profit forecast

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FILE PHOTO: Photo of an Amgen sign at the company's office in South San Francisco

By Deena Beasley and Leroy Leo

-Amgen Inc said on Tuesday it would buy back up to $6 billion of its shares in the first quarter and forecast profit to more than double by 2030 on strong sales of its oncology drugs, biosimilars and other important products.

Shares of the U.S. biotechnology company jumped 8% to $241.37.

Amgen also said it expects to deliver mid-single-digit revenue growth through the end of the decade, driven by treatments such as cholesterol drug Repatha, psoriasis medicine Otezla and a pipeline of innovative products in development.

“This is very far out into 2030 … many things could change with pipelines, pricing, commercial situations,” Jefferies analyst Michael Yee said in a research note.

Amgen commercial operations head Murdo Gordon, in a phone interview, said Amgen is confident in its long-term forecast given the company’s strong track record and diverse product portfolio.

“We see price pressure in a fairly significant way in 2022, then going forward that price drag is a little lower, and we see volume gains from the innovative side of our portfolio more than offsetting price declines,” he said.

The company also said it may take advantage of the recent selloff in biotech stocks to pursue deals in the sector.

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“It’s not lost on us that the recent decline in valuations for many biotech assets could create more compelling opportunities for us,” long-time Chief Executive Robert Bradway said at the company’s business review meeting with investors.

“We have the financial strength, the flexibility to consider a wide range of possibilities.”

For this year, Amgen projected revenue of $25.4 billion to $26.5 billion, which was short of the nearly $27 billion forecast by Wall Street, as compiled by Refinitiv.

Yee at Jefferies estimated that around 46% of Amgen’s current product sales, including osteoporosis drug Prolia, are at risk of losing market exclusivity by 2030 as patents expire.

Amgen on Monday detailed a series of early-stage pipeline assets it believes hold promise, including a cholesterol-targeting treatment and a potential obesity drug for heart patients.

Amgen on Monday said its fourth-quarter 2021 sales fell 1% due to increased price competition, while overall revenue rose 3%, bolstered by sales of a COVID-19 antibody treatment it manufactures for Eli Lilly and Co.

(Additional reporting by Dania Nadeem in Bengaluru and Deena Beasley in Los Angeles; Editing by Ramakrishnan M and Bill Berkrot)