Alexion Pharmaceuticals: All about growth

This biotech's Soliris drug treatment can cost $400,000 per patient.

By TheStockAdvisors Oct 13, 2011 12:42PM
By Nicholas Vardy, Global Bull Market Alert

As we enter the start of earnings season, it's time to up your bets on stocks going into what traditionally has been the strongest quarter for the stock market.

Among the fast-growing major biotechs announcing earnings in the coming weeks is our latest buy recommendation, Connecticut-based Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN).

Despite the market pullback, ALXN has risen steadily on expectations of more approved uses for its only drug on the market, Soliris.

Soliris today is the only drug approved to treat a rare blood disorder called paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH).

PNH is life-threatening, and the drug can cost a patient $400,000 for full treatment.

But ALXN is also expanding Soliris’ label -- that is, the diseases Soliris can be used to treat. On Sept. 26, the U.S. FDA approved Soliris' use to treat a disease called atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome, or aHUS.

And the European Committee for Medical Products for Human Use, or CHMP, recommended that the same indication be extended to Soliris in Europe. Alexion expects final European Union approval in about two months.

There was further encouraging news for Alexion last month when Soliris fared well in a mid-stage study which evaluated the drug in another indication.

The study involved patients suffering from severe and refractory generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG). Encouraged by the positive results, the company intends to evaluate Soliris for the gMG indication further.

As you would expect with a typical biotech stock, Alexion is all about growth. During recent quarters, year-over-year earnings per share (EPS) has grown 36%, 33%, 32%, 63%, 58% and 45%.

Sales growth in recent quarters has jumped 34%, 43%, 45%, 36%, 38%, 41% and 48%. 2011 and 2012 annual EPS estimates are for gains of 34% and 39%, respectively.

Alexion will report its financial results for Q3 on Thursday, October 20, 2011, before the financial markets open.

The stock might see a pop on earnings, as Alexion has a habit of beating Wall Street expectations, having done so for five straight quarters.

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