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Celgene Rises After CEO Hugin Touts New Drugs, Sales Growth

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Celgene's investment in R&D is paying off with potential for multiple blockbusters, biotech chief executive tells investors. Experimental psoriasis drug showed strong results in a clinical trial, another boost for the company's product pipeline.

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Shares of biotech giant Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) are rising in heavy trading after CEO Robert Hugin gave an extremely bullish outlook for his company's revenue growth and new drugs in development.

Celgene should report product sales of more than $6 billion in 2013, a number that will double by 2017, Hugin told an investor conference Monday. The company will report earnings per share of as much as $5.60 this year, and Hugin predicted that number would be as high as $14 a share in 2017.

Much of the growth will come from new products -- potential blockbuster drugs that are in various stages of development and government review. Hugin announced that the experimental drug apremilast showed in pivotal research that it is effective in the treatment of psoriasis. The company plans to file for Food and Drug Administration approval in the second half of this year.

Shares of Celgene rose 2% to $83.65 in midday trading Monday. The stock is up more than 23% in the past 12 months.

Celgene, best known for its blood cancer drug Revlimid, faces a February 10 deadline for the FDA to rule on possible approval of the drug pomalidomide, which would be branded as Pomalyst. Like Revlimid, Pomalyst is developed to treat multiple myeloma. Approval of Pomalyst would help Celgene "extend leadership in multiple myeloma," Hugin says. He predicts the drug will be a blockbuster. Investors and Wall Street analysts expect the drug will be approved as released study data has been strong. (See Celgene, Pharmacyclics, Ariad Pharmaceuticals, ImmunoGen, Array BioPharma Get Boost From Medical Conference.)

Celgene also has hope to win approval for additional uses of the cancer drug Abraxane. The treatment is approved in the US for lung and breast cancers. The drug has been shown in studies to be effective in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

More than $4 billion of Celgene's sales in 2013 is expected to come from Revlimid. Growth of the newer drugs will help diversify the base of products, Hugin says.

"The best days of Celgene are in front of us," Hugin told an audience at a JPMorgan health care conference in San Francisco Monday.

Twitter: @brettchase

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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