Amgen’s stock hit by expectations its obesity pipeline is facing a longer wait

Amgen Inc.’s stock fell 3.3% Tuesday to put it on track for its biggest one-day percentage decline in more than a year, after the company’s better-than-expected quarterly earnings were offset by comments on its obesity pipeline that suggested a longer wait than some were expecting.

Questions on the company’s obesity pipeline dominated the call with analysts, given the expectations for the new class of drugs that have created strong demand for products developed by Novo Nordisk


and Eli Lilly & Co.

The obesity market is expected to grow to as high as $100 billion in the next decade, according to Morgan Stanley analysts.

On its call, Amgen

said it expects initial data from a Phase 1 trial of its AMG 786 obesity treatment to come in the first half of 2024. It has completed enrolment in a Phase 2 trial of its AMG 133 treatment with top-line data expected in late 2024.

With AMG 133, “it’s full steam ahead” and we’re looking forward to data from the Phase 3 trial next year, which will really inform the breadth of the Phase 3 trial that we’re contemplating, which could be quite large,” David M. Reese, executive vice president of research & development, said on the call, according to a FactSet transcript.

The company expects to bring a suite of preclinical obesity assets forward “over the next few years,” he added.

Reese later noted that the field is still in its infancy and there’s a lot to understand about the “complex metabolic arrangements that occur with obesity.”

Amgen’s intent is to play the long game, “given that this is one of the major public health challenges of the 21st century.”

Reese also said the company plans to invest in the other hot area of the time, artificial intelligence, or AI. The company has one of the biggest data sets in the industry, he said, which it expects to mine.

The biotech, which closed its $27.8 billion acquisition of Horizon Therapeutics plc on October 6, posted net income of $1.730 billion, or $3.22 a share, for the quarter, down from $2.143 billion, or $3.98 a share, in the year-earlier period.

Adjusted per-share earnings came to $4.96, well ahead of the $4.68 FactSet consensus.

Revenue climbed to $6.903 billion from $6.652 billion, close to the $6.923 billion FactSet consensus.

The company is expecting sales of Horizon’s Tepezza to be boosted by new prescribers as ophthalmologists and endocrinologists are added to the label. The drug is the lone approved treatment for thyroid eye disease, or TED. The Horizon deal allowed the company to expand into rare diseases.

Sales of the company’s Enbrel, which is used to treat autoimmune diseases, fell 6% in the third quarter3. Repatha, a treatment for cholesterol, saw sales climb 31%, while osteoporosis treatment Prolio saw sales rise 14%.

Sales of cancer drug Lumankras fell 1%, while sales of psoriasis drug Otzela fell 10%. Sales of the company’s Amjevita, a biosimilar version of AbbVie Inc.’s

blockbuster arthritis treatment Humira, rose 30%.

For more, read: Amgen’s cancer-drug pipeline looks promising despite FDA setback, analysts say

Amgen is now expecting full-year adjusted EPS of $18.20 to $18.80 and revenue of $28.0 billion to $28.4 billion. The FactSet consensus is for EPS of $18.36 and revenue of $27.6 billion.

The stock has gained 0.2% in the year through Monday’s close, while the S&P 500

has gained 8.5%.

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