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Euro pharma in 1Q: The view

April 21, 2017

European drugs companies will report first-quarter earnings starting next week. Here is what analysts will be looking out for:

Novartis ( NVSEF) , which reports on April 25, is expected to post earnings per share of $1.10, according to analyst consensus. There will be particular interest in the early signs of success for recent drugs launches, notably heart failure treatment Entresto and and arthritis treatment Cosentyx, and on any progress on the plans to sell eye care unit Alcon.

GlaxoSmithKline ( GLAXF) reports on April 26, providing a first chance for investors to hear from new CEO Emma Walmsley, who is expected to provide updates on the inroads that generic drugs have made into sales of its asthma drug Advair and on new treatments for HIV coming out of its Viiv Healthcare unit. Revenues for the quarter are expected to be about £7.28 billion ($9.33 billion), almost £1 billion higher quarter-on-quarter, after the company said it will benefit from a 14% positive currency effect due to the fall in the pound, though that same fall will weigh on R&D, marketing and sales costs. EPS was 28.6 pence in the first quarter of last year and anything close to that will be well received.

AstraZeneca ( AZN) and Roche ( RHHBY) both report on April 27.

Investors in AstraZeneca will be hoping, possibly in vain, for an update on the progress of its immuno-oncology treatments, which are being run through the company’s Phase III MYSTIC trial for mono and combination therapies for its drugs. EPS is expected to come in at about $0.91, while Goldman Sachs is tipping revenues of about $5.4 billion, down from $6.1 billion in the first quarter of 2016.

Roche reports only sales numbers, with analysts tipping an increase to about Sfr13 billion ($13.06 billion), up from Sfr12.4 billion in Q1 2016. Investors will look out for an update on the roll out of Roche’s cancer treatment Tecentriq, which this week gained Food and Drug Administration approval as a first-line treatment for advanced bladder cancer. There will also be particular interest in early results for multiple sclerosis treatment Ocrevus, which was approved for use by the FDA last month.

Sanofi ( SNYNF) is next up, on April 28, when analyst consensus forecasts are tipping an EPS of about €1.28 ($1.38), down from €1.34 in Q1 2016. Investors will be hoping for an update, and positive news, on insulin products Lantus and Toujeo, both of which are facing pricing pressure from bio-similar competitors. Revenues from Lantus, which is Sanofi’s biggest selling drug, are expected to fall to about €1.25 billion, down from €1.4 billion this time last year.

Shire ( SHPG) reports its Q1 earnings on May 2, with consensus forecasts tipping earnings of $3.47 per American Depositary Share. That figure could come in higher depending on the early success of dry eye disease treatment Xiidra, while an update on Phase III trial results for Lanadelumab a treatment for the skin swelling disease angioedema.

And finally, diabetes specialist Novo Nordisk ( NVO) will report on May 3, with analysts tipping earnings per share of about DKK3.83 ($0.55), up from DKK3.71 in Q1 2016. Revenues are expected to climb after the company reported a 14% gain in sales volumes of its key insulin drugs in the U.S. over the first quarter, though it remains to be seen how pricing held up amid the larger volumes.


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