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Amgen Lifts FY13 Adj. Earnings Outlook - Update

Amgen Inc. (AMGN), said Thursday it plans to launch a portfolio of six new biosimilars beginning 2017 in a bid to tap a multi-billion dollar growth opportunity. The biotechnology giant also raised its adjusted earnings outlook for fiscal year 2013.

At a meeting with analysts, Amgen dealt on its growth strategy that includes targeting over $1 billion in sales in new and emerging markets by 2015, as well as expansion in key markets such as Japan and China.

Amgen is exploring a partnership in Japan that will provide a stand-alone subsidiary by 2020, and expects to launch its first products in the Japanese market by 2016. The company also expects to launch its first products in the Chinese market by 2015, with plans in the offing for a R&D presence.

The company said its late-stage pipeline is advancing with data expected from eight pivotal programs by 2016. Topping the list is AMG-145, an investigational antibody directed against PCSK9, a protein that reduces the liver's ability to remove low density lipoprotein cholesterol or bad cholesterol from the blood. Amgen expects to have initial late-stage data for AMG 145 early 2014.

The company also expects to post results in 2018 from a trial of AMG 145 that will analyze whether the drug can reduce heart attacks and strokes.

Amgen also expects to deliver about $800 million of operating income benefit in 2014 to shareholders from the transition of the Enbrel profit share to a royalty payment. Shareholders will realize a further increase of about 10 percent of the rheumatoid arthritis drug sales in 2017 as a result of the termination of the royalty payment.

The company will reallocate approximately $1 billion in operational efficiencies over the next three years towards strategic initiatives that support the company's growth and competitive position.

For 2013, Amgen now expects adjusted earnings of $7.05 to $7.35 per share, compared with prior guidance of $6.85 to $7.15 per share. The company continues to expect revenues for year in the range of $17.8 billion to $18.2 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters currently expect earnings of $7.01 per share on revenues of $17.92 billion for 2013. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Amgen is trading at $85.47, down 1.29%, on a volume of 2.7 million shares on the Nasdaq.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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