Amgen Fourth Quarter Profits Drop, Revenue Up for 2012

Amgen finished 2012 with lower fourth-quarter profits—reporting a net income of $788 million—despite an 11 percent increase in revenue for the quarter to $4.42 billion. Increased spending on research and development and other administrative costs led to the 16 percent decline for the quarter compared to 2011.

For 2012, revenues at the biotechnology company also rose 11 percent for the year, totaling $17.3 billion. This performance also reflects the costs of Amgen’s acquisition of deCODE Genetics—a biotechnology company based in Iceland that focuses on identifying genetic risk factors for disease development—which was finalized in December of last year.

Amgen’s anemia drugs contributed to the weak fourth-quarter performance, with Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa) and Epogen (epoetin alfa) sales falling by 9 percent and 1 percent, respectively. For 2012, Aranesp and Epogen sales declined 11 percent and 5 percent, respectively, driven by changing practice patterns and reduced dosing. Introduction of new drugs to treat anemia in patients receiving dialysis could lead to a more competitive environment for this therapeutic area, and possibly pose additional challenges to sales.

Demand for other medications in Amgen’s nephrology portfolio remained strong. Sales of Sensipar (cinacalcet), a treatment for secondary hyperparathyroidism, were up 19 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 and 18 percent for the year.

Looking ahead to 2013, Amgen’s chairman and CEO Robert A. Bradway announced several new phase III trials, including one for AMG 145 for individuals with high LDL cholesterol levels. “We enter 2013 with good momentum, a broad late-stage pipeline, and a continued focus on building our business internationally,” he said. However, the company announced plans in January to lay off 160 employees, or 1 percent of its workforce.

March 2013 (Vol. 5, Number 3)